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SEO in 2019

SEO in 2019

SEO requires continuous work to ensure you maintain your existing rankings and to improve your position in Google search. What are the things you should be thinking about and acting on in SEO in 2019? Here are eight of the most important.

The Advance of Mobile

Overall, a huge percentage of people search using mobile devices rather than computers. While the results are different industry-by-industry, all business owners need to focus their efforts on improving the experience of mobile users.

Remember as well that Google is increasingly prioritising mobile. For example, it has adopted mobile-first indexing. This doesn’t mean it ignores desktop websites, but if your site is mobile friendly, it will look at that first.

Content is Still King

All three of the most important factors about your website from Google’s perspective will be covered in this blog. One of the three is the content on your pages, particularly the text.

Put simply, you must ensure the content on your website is as good as possible. It needs to be sufficiently long (without being repetitive), and it needs to be helpful and engaging for users.

This is as important in 2019 as it has ever been.

You Gotta Have Speed

Another element about your website that remains crucially important is page load speed. Google has been focused, almost from the day it launched, on speeding up the internet. That focus continues in 2019. So, if your site takes too long to load, your priority this year should be to speed it up.

Security Can’t Be Ignored

Security is now important for all websites, not just those where users or customers send personal or sensitive information. Even if the only place you ask people to enter information on your website is a contact form, Google wants you to make your website more secure.

This means adding encryption by getting an SSL certificate. This is a fairly straightforward thing to do, so your website developer or SEO provider will be able to sort it out for you quickly. It’s not costly, either, so should not be ignored.

Evolving Your Backlink Strategy

In one of the above points, the fact that Google has three main ranking factors was mentioned. One of those three is links. In fact, links are arguably the most important of the three big ranking factors.

If you want success in SEO in 2019, you need to continue building backlinks to your website. This involves creating fantastic content that people want to link to, having a good social media strategy to ensure as many people see your posts as possible, and sharing your content in as many other different ways as you can.

There are two other things you should think about in 2019, however, if they are not already part of your strategy:

  • Targeting your competitor’s backlinks – this is a simple concept but is one that can produce excellent results. It involves researching the websites of your competitors to find out where they are getting backlinks from. Your SEO provider can give you this information, plus there are plenty of tools on the internet that will give you a backlink profile of almost any website on the internet. You can then devise plans and strategies to get links from the same or similar sources that your competitors are getting them from.
  • Increase mentions to your website – links are one option that websites have when including a reference to your business. The other main one is by mentioning your company name, brand, or product without linking back to your site. This is called a mention in SEO and, while it’s not as beneficial as a link, it still helps.

Focus on Search Intent

This point is absolutely crucial, particularly if you have a fairly advanced SEO strategy in place already. This is because search intent is one of the main priorities of Google at the moment, as you’ll see in the next point below.

Focusing on search intent means thinking beyond a keyword, instead thinking about why people use that keyword when they search.

The most important keywords are those that have a buying intent, i.e. where there is a chance you can get the person into your sales funnel. This covers everything from someone using a keyword for initial research on a product or service right down to a person who has decided on what they want and is ready to make a buying decision.

Many of these will be long tail keywords. If you don’t yet include in your SEO strategy long tail keywords that have buying intent, 2019 is the time to start.

Get Your Head Around RankBrain

RankBrain is the third of three main factors that Google considers when ranking websites on search results pages. It is something that hasn’t had much focus in SEO, particularly with small and medium-sized businesses. It is becoming more important, however, so this year is a good time to start getting an understanding of what RankBrain is.

In very simple terms, RankBrain is a machine learning algorithm. Its main job is to help order search results for keywords that Google has never seen before (which is about 450 million a day). In other words, RankBrain tries to understand the intent of the user so it can display search results that don’t include the keyword used in the query the person typed into Google.

Start Adapting for Evolving Search Patterns

The way people search on the internet is changing. Of course, Google is still the dominant search player. However, there are other things you should be aware of that could influence your SEO strategy in 2019. At the very least, you should be thinking about the following:

  • Increasing use of voice search – the use of devices like the Amazon Echo is increasing. When people use these devices, they use a more conversational tone than they do when typing.
  • Siri and Bing – Siri, the personal assistant in iPhones and iPads, uses Microsoft Bing to answer search queries. Most companies, however, focus only on Google when thinking about SEO.
  • Amazon search – according to research, people looking for a product will search in Amazon before they look anywhere else, including Google.

Setting Your Priorities

All the above points will be important to SEO in 2019, but you need to focus on those that are both relevant to your business and likely to generate the best return on investment. This will help you improve your position and the results you achieve.

Importance of Long Tail Keywords in SEO

Importance of Long Tail Keywords in SEO

Keywords come in all shapes and sizes. One common way of categorising them is either as a short tail or long tail keyword. Long tail keywords are longer phrases, i.e. phrases with more words. So, “building contractor” is a short tail keyword, while “renovations building contractor in Auckland” is a long tail keyword.

As most companies focus on short tail keywords, the long tail variety presents you with a considerable business opportunity.

Many of the world’s largest and most successful websites get this – websites like The Huffington Post, Forbes, Amazon, and eBay. They all have strategies that target long tail keywords, and you should too. Here are the reasons why:

Additional Keywords You Can Rank For

If you look at any industry or niche, individual short tail keywords are the most searched for terms. This is one of the reasons why they are the main target for most SEO strategies.

However, 70 percent of searches are for long-tail keywords. So, even though individual keywords get lots of searches, the majority of web searches are long tail keywords.

Less Competition

Any individual short tail keyword that has a high search volume will be hard to compete for. Depending on your business, that competition could include major regional, national, or international websites that have significantly more resources available for SEO than you do.

There is much less competition for long tail keywords, though, making them easier to rank for.

Can Bring Significant Traffic to Your Website

Following on from the previous two points, long tail keywords can result in your website attracting more visitors. Here’s how:

  • You create high-quality content on your website targeting long tail keywords
  • The content ranks near the top of search results pages because there isn’t much competition
  • You get clicks through to your website

Traffic is More Targeted

Another factor to remember is that long tail keywords are often very specific. Look at the example from the start of this article:

  • Short tail keyword “building contractor” – this could mean anything, from a building contractor who specialises in major commercial projects to a building contractor who covers a different geographical location.
  • Long tail keyword “renovations building contractor in Auckland” – if you’re an Auckland-based building contractor who specialises in renovations work, this is a better keyword to rank for.

In fact, it is often the case that people use long tail keywords the closer they get to making a buying decision. So, at the start of their research, a person looking for a building contractor might use the keyword “building contractor”. They will then refine their searches as they get closer to understanding what they need, using long tail keywords in the process.

Better Conversion Rates

This point follows on from the previous one, i.e. if the keywords are more targeted, you are more likely to get a higher conversion rate.

Ideal for Competitive Industries and Niches

Long tail keywords are suitable for any SEO strategy, whatever products or services you sell. That said, all the previous points combined make long tail keyword strategies particularly useful if you are in a competitive industry or niche.

This is because you may not be able to compete with the SEO budgets of the big players on the web, whether those sites are international or New Zealand-based. Instead, you have to think smarter, which means targeting long tail keywords.

Less Expensive Method of Beating Your Competition

Whether you’re in a competitive industry or not, targeting long tail keywords in your SEO strategy is much less costly than targeting short tail keywords. Therefore, if your competitors currently rank higher than you, targeting long tail keywords is an approach that is likely to deliver the best return on investment.

Easier to Optimise Content

An essential part of targeting any keyword, short tail or long tail, is optimising the content on your website in general, as well as on individual pages. This can be tricky when targeting short tail keywords, not least because you face the ever-present risk of over-optimising. Over-optimising can be worse than not optimising at all.

Long tail keywords are much easier to optimise. For example, you can identify an important long tail keyword and then write a blog on that topic, using the keyword in the headline and in other strategic locations. After a few additional steps, you will have a page of content optimised for the targeted long tail keyword.

Good for Voice Searches

Another factor to consider when looking at long tail keywords is voice search. Voice search is becoming increasingly important given the growing popularity of devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

When people search using one of these devices, they naturally use language that is more conversational, i.e. they use long tail keywords. Therefore, targeting long tail keywords will help increase the visibility of your website and brand on voice searches.

Improve Bounce Rate

In brief, your bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website from Google search and then leave soon after arriving without visiting any other pages, i.e. they hit your website and bounce off it.

While this rule doesn’t apply in all situations, a high bounce rate can be an indication to Google that people visiting your website are not getting the information they are looking for. Google doesn’t like this.

As a result, it’s often better to have a bounce rate that is as low as possible.

The content on your website targeting long tail keywords is more likely to provide users with the information they are looking for. This means they are less likely to bounce, reducing your bounce rate.

Builds Better Relationships with Visitors

Following on from the above point, providing a Google search user with a focused and specific answer to their query helps to build your brand and increase your reputation. Content optimised for long tail keywords achieves this.

Helps with Your Social Media Strategy

Finally, long tail keywords can often help with your social media strategy, albeit indirectly. The previous two points are important in understanding this, i.e. the fact that content optimised for a long tail keyword is likely to directly answer a search user’s query.

This increases the possibility the person will then share the page on their social media channels, helping your overall social media strategy.

Start Targeting Long Tail Keywords

As you can see above, there are lots of benefits to targeting long tail keywords. They should be a central part of your SEO strategy.

SEO Optimisation of Parallax Scrolling Websites

SEO Optimisation of Parallax Scrolling Websites

Website design and SEO are two things that should go hand-in-hand. In other words, you should not include a design feature on your website unless you consider the implication for SEO. Parallax scrolling is a design feature, so how will it impact the SEO of your website? How can you optimise a parallax scrolling website?

What is a Parallax Scrolling?

Parallax scrolling has its origins in video game design. It is a website design technique where the background of the website’s page scrolls slower than the foreground (or content) of the page. So, you could have a background image that will scroll slower than the text on the page.

The effect is to add depth to the page, making it feel more interactive and making it look almost 3D.

It is an effect, however, and it can be overwhelming and/or distracting when used in the wrong context or when used too much. When used subtly, however, and when the focus remains on the content of the page rather than letting a design quirk take over, parallax scrolling can enhance a website and make it more memorable and eye-catching.

The SEO Impact of Parallax Scrolling

Generally, parallax scrolling is not, in itself, problematic for SEO. The search engine optimisation issues occur in its application.

There are two ways that website designers use parallax scrolling:

  1. To add a design feature to a page on a website
  2. To make parallax scrolling a central feature of a one-page website

The first approach is the least problematic. So long as the website has a good SEO architecture, the addition of a parallax scrolling feature to a page will have minimal impact on search engine ranking, although you do need to consider site speed – see below.

Big problems arise, however, when you use parallax scrolling on one-page websites. The issue isn’t necessarily with the parallax scrolling feature but, with the fact the website has a one-page design.

We’ll come to the issue of one-page parallax scrolling websites in a moment, but there is an important factor to point out for any parallax scrolling element on a website, even if it’s a design feature on a single page of a multi-page website – speed.

Website Speed and Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling will slow down your website – it really is as simple as that. This could impact the SEO of your website, particularly if you already have speed issues.

Where the problem of speed is most acute, however, is on the mobile version of your website. Parallax scrolling can slow down websites viewed on phones considerably, so you should think carefully before adding it.

One helpful approach is to remove the parallax scrolling effect for anyone viewing your website on a mobile device.

Why Parallax Scrolling is So Popular on One-Page Websites

Back to one-page websites and why parallax scrolling is so popular.

One-page website design is a design approach favoured by some for its minimalist style. You need to overcome the issue of having one long page of content, however. How do you stop the page from becoming boring?

The solution that many website designers turn to is parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling helps to break up content and grab the attention of visitors with visual uniqueness.

In other words, it can be the difference between a one-page website design that is flat, uninspiring, and boring, and a website that works and visitors love (notwithstanding the speed caveat mentioned above).

What’s the Problem with One-Page Websites?

Parallax scrolling can make one-page websites work from a user’s perspective, but single page websites are problematic for SEO. This is because Google views them as one-page websites. While you might think that’s the whole point, this is not what search engines want.

Instead, search engines want each section of your website (i.e. each section of your one-page website design) to have its own page and information. This helps give Google a better understanding of the content on the page and where it fits into its search results.

So, to get the best results, you should abandon the idea of a one-page website altogether, giving your website a multi-page site architecture instead. You can then add the parallax scrolling design feature to individual pages wherever you think it will enhance the user experience.

What If You Want to Stick with a One-Page Design?

What if you want to stick with a one-page design that uses parallax scrolling? This approach will never be as good as having multiple pages, but there are some things you can do to improve the SEO of your site.

While you won’t have multiple pages on a one-page website, you will have sections of content. This could be About Us, Services, Contact, etc. Most one-page websites have a menu that lets users jump to these specific sections on the page.

Google doesn’t treat the links to these sections as separate URLs, but you can use workarounds. Specifically, you can use code that makes your website appear to Google as multiple pages with each page having its own unique content, page title, and meta description.

This will enable Google to more effectively index your website which, in turn, helps ensure your website appears on searches for crucial keywords.

The way to achieve this is to use Google’s guidelines for pages with infinite scroll. Infinite scroll pages and one-page websites with parallax scrolling are different, but the solution for infinite scrolling pages will optimise your site for Google search.

Importantly, it will improve the SEO of your website while maintaining the one-page design for users. Therefore, you get the design features you want – one-page design with parallax scrolling functionality – while ensuring your site has the SEO structure it needs.

Final Thought – Analytics

The above solution doesn’t solve all the issues that exist with one-page websites that have parallax scrolling. The biggest is the problem of analytics.

The analytics data you get from a one-page website is restricted to a single page. This means you can’t drill into the performance of each section of your website. Chunking your one-page website into different sections for SEO will not change that.

Summary

In summary, many people like the parallax scrolling feature, but it does have implications for SEO. Make sure you take the necessary steps to optimise your site if you choose to implement parallax scrolling.

 

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SEO Pagination and its Best Practices

SEO Pagination and its Best Practices

Pagination is a necessary feature on many websites, particularly if you have a large number of articles (an active blog section, for example), or a large number of products on your website. How does pagination impact SEO and what should you do to optimise pagination on your website?

SEO pagination is an advanced area of SEO, but for many it is important. Let’s start at the beginning, though.

What is Pagination and Why Do Websites Have It?

Website developers add pagination to websites to improve the way the website displays information. An example will illustrate this best.

Let’s say you sell products on your website, with 1,000 products over 10 categories, with an average of 100 products per category. One of the options you are likely to give users on your website is the option to view all the products in a category.

How do you display that information? Do you put all 100 products on one page? Or, do you paginate the category, putting 10 products per page with links for the user to scroll through the pages?

Most websites choose the second option, including large websites like Amazon. One of the reasons they do is the fact that putting 100 products on a page would have a detrimental impact on page load times.

So, in summary, the most common usage of pagination is to make it easier to display large amounts of information.

Before moving on, though, there is another usage of pagination that you might have seen on websites – pagination within an article. In other words, a single article split over multiple pages.

This is a very different usage of pagination. Instead of helping users, website owners use this option so they can show more ads to visitors, i.e. as the user clicks through to each new page in the article, they see a new set of ads.

In this blog, however, we’re going to focus on the more common usage of pagination – to display large amounts of information.

Types of Pagination

  • Article pagination – as mentioned above, a single article spread across more than one page
  • Gallery pagination – where each image or gallery item as its own page
  • Forum thread pagination – where a single forum thread has multiple pages
  • Category pagination – where each category has its own page, like the product listing example mentioned above
  • Infinite scroll pagination – where the website adds new information to the page whenever the user scrolls

The Impact of Pagination on SEO

The primary concern of most website owners when considering SEO and pagination is the fact that Google can, and probably will, index multiple paginated pages. In other words, it will index page two, three, four, etc in a paginated series as well as page one.

This is an issue for two main reasons:

  • Most website owners put the most relevant information on page one of a paginated series. Therefore, they want users to see page one first. A Google search, however, might return page two in the paginated series, for example, or any other page.
  • Depending on the size of your website, you might run into crawl bandwidth issues. In other words, the Google crawler will only spend so much time on your website indexing pages. If it gets stuck indexing multiple pages in multiple paginated series, it might not crawl other, more important pages.

The second point above is compounded by the fact that modern website Content Management Systems often add strings to URLs. This could result in not only lots of paginated pages in Google’s index, but also lots of variations of paginated pages.

Outdated Solutions

One method that some website owners use is to noindex every page except for page one in a paginated series. They do this in an attempt to force Google to prioritise page one.

This can have unintended consequences, however, including the fact that Google will stop following internal links on the other pages in the series. As internal links are crucial to SEO, this method of optimising pagination could have a detrimental impact on your website’s overall SEO, so it’s not recommended.

This means you should let Google index all pages in your paginated series.

Pagination Best Practices

Let’s first recap on the objectives of optimising the pagination feature of your website. There are two:

  • You want Google to understand that it has found a paginated series on your website. Furthermore, you want Google to know which page is page one in the series, so it knows that, from your perspective, it’s the most important page.
  • Secondly, you want to eliminate the variations of each paginated URL in Google’s index.

Two different link elements are the solution.

The first is:

  • rel=”next” and rel=”prev”

You should apply this to the “Next” and “Previous” links that appear on pages in your paginated series. Often these links appear at the bottom of each page.

Obviously, page one in the paginated series will only have a rel=”next” link element. Google will understand this means it is page one in the paginated series.

All other pages will have both link elements, and the last page will have just rel=”prev”.

What about the second objective – limiting the number of pages in Google’s index to only clean links in the paginated series, i.e. eliminating all the other links created dynamically by your CMS?

The solution to this is the rel canonical link element. Specifically, on each page in your paginated series, you should add a canonical link to itself.

What About Duplicate Content?

One problem with pagination that website owners often highlight is duplicate content warnings. In other words, the pages in your paginated series are likely to have duplicate content, so you may get warnings.

The simple answer to this one is you don’t need to worry. Google understands that not only is pagination a fact of the internet, duplicate content on pages in a paginated series is also a fact of the internet.

So, while duplicate content warnings are important everywhere else, on paginated pages, you can ignore them.

Optimising Your Paginated Pages

The above may sound complex, but your website developer will be able to put in place solutions that automatically apply the rel=”next”, rel=”prev”, and rel canonical link elements to pages in a paginated series. Doing this will optimise them for SEO.

 

An Introduction to Keyword Research for E-Commerce SEO

E-commerce Search Engine Optimisation (e-commerce SEO), is essential if you want to rank your online shop in as a high position on Google as possible. It will help your ranking on other search engines too, including Bing, but Google is the most important search engine for e-commerce businesses in New Zealand.

Put simply, getting a high ranking in Google will ensure your website is seen by the masses.

Doing this means knowing the specific keywords and phrases that people use in Google that are related to your content, website, or products

This involves doing keyword research, which is an essential part of e-commerce SEO.

Keyword Research

Keep in mind that keywords needed for blogs and other website content will differ from those needed for your e-commerce store. The reason for this is that there are different types of searchers online. This includes people searching for general information, while others will be looking for products.

In addition, you will have different types of people looking for products. This includes people who have just started their search right through to people who know exactly what they want to buy and are now looking for an e-commerce store that will give them the best deal.

Your keywords must first appeal to product searchers, not the information searchers. You then ideally want to capture people who are close to making a buying decision.

Find Keywords that Have Buying Intent

The aim is to identify commercial keywords that indicate buying intent.

Where do you find these keywords, however?

You can start with places that people often use to search for products. This includes:

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Any other strong website that sells similar products to yours

Start by typing into the search box a keyword you think will rank well. You will then see autocomplete options that will show you other ideas that are related to the keyword you type.

On Google, you can also scroll to the bottom of the search results page. There you will find a list of related search queries which can also be quite useful.

The great thing about using this technique to find keyword ideas is that major websites like Google, Amazon, and eBay understand the phrases the people use when searching for products, and they understand buying intent.

AdWords Keyword Planner

You can also use the Keyword Planner in Google’s AdWords product to find keywords. You will need to create an AdWords account to do this, but getting an account is free.

Not only will the Keyword Planner tool generate keyword ideas, it also gives you the average number of monthly searches for that keyword.

It gives you AdWords bid information too, which can also be helpful, even when you don’t plan to run AdWords campaigns. This is because you can use the estimated bid for a keyword to get an idea of the level of competition that exists.

Research Your Competition

The final source for e-commerce keyword research on this list is to check what your competitors use. You may need a keyword tool to achieve this, although they can be expensive when you just want to check a few websites.

You can, however, get information by manually checking the websites of your competitors. Things you should look out for are the Page Titles of product pages as well as the titles they give to products.

Keyword Research for E-Commerce SEO is an Ongoing Process

One final tip with keyword research for e-commerce SEO is that it is an ongoing process. Adding to the list, finding new opportunities, and lowering the priority of under performing keywords, will help you stay ahead of the competition.

Four SEO Basics to Begin Optimising Your E-Commerce Website

Google can send free traffic to your e-commerce website and some of those visitors will then go on to buy something from you. Maximising the number of visitors that you get from Google, however, requires SEO.

That said, SEO is a big topic, particularly for e-commerce websites. So, to get you started, here are four essential basics you need to know.

Keywords

Keywords are the phrases that potential customers type into Google when looking for the products you sell. When it comes to keywords, you should have the following goals:

  • Ensure your website appears on Google search results pages for all crucial keywords related to your products
  • Ensure your website appears as high up on these Google search results pages as possible

You do this using several techniques:

  • Researching keywords so you know which ones to optimise your website for
  • Having one target keyword per page
  • Optimising each page by including the keyword in the page’s URL, title, heading, and in the content of the page
  • Telling people about the page to get them to link back to it

That is a very quick overview, but it is a succinct description of the importance of keywords to SEO and how to make them work for your e-commerce website.

Mobile-Friendly

Having a mobile-friendly website is essential for SEO, whatever type of website you have. For e-commerce websites, however, this can be a bit more challenging.

This is because many people consider how a website looks when they think about mobile. In other words, ensuring the website adjusts to display properly on a smaller screen.

However, having a mobile-friendly website also means ensuring all the functions and features work for people using it on a mobile device. This includes your shopping cart and checkout processes.

In fact, it should be just as quick, safe, and easy for a customer to buy something from your website using a mobile device as it is to make a purchase on a computer.

Fast-Loading Website

Your website should load quickly too. This is one area that many e-commerce websites fall down on, but it is critical. This is because Google loves fast-loading websites and it constantly advises website owners to make their websites faster.

Consumers like fast-loading websites too. So, not only will a fast loading website help with your e-commerce SEO, it will also get you more sales.

Reviews and Product Ratings

The final essential SEO basic for e-commerce websites on this list is to add star ratings to the products you sell as well as getting reviews for your business. You should use one of Google’s approved services when doing this to ensure you get the maximum benefit.

While the impact on rankings is not as great as other SEO factors, star reviews and ratings enhance the appearance of your website on search results pages. This is because Google displays star ratings on its search results pages, helping to encourage people to click.

Getting Started with E-Commerce SEO

Of course, there is much more to e-commerce SEO than the four points on this list. However, getting an understanding of these points and then taking action on them will improve your Google ranking and bring visitors to your website.

Choosing the Right Keywords for your Google AdWords Campaign

AdWords campaigns are a viable and, potentially, affordable way to bring a fresh influx of customers to your website. However, if you don’t use the right keywords, you run the risk of increasing the number of visitors without seeing any changes in your sales.

Keywords help you tell Google who should see your ad to ensure you maximise every dollar invested in the campaign. When choosing keywords, there are several important rules to follow.

#1: Think Like Your Customers

If you were searching for black yoga pants, what’s the search term you would use in Google? Would it be ‘black yoga pants’ or just ‘pants’?

When people want to buy, they are looking for specific products. So, to make sure your site pops up first when possible customers search for what they need, you should use specific keywords. True, highly specific keywords won’t bring as much traffic as general ones, but each click has a higher chance to turn into a sale. As a result, your campaign may get amazing results in terms of ROI, which is all you should care about.

#2: Negative Keywords

These are the keywords you use to make sure the wrong people don’t see your ads. For instance, if you sell TV sets but not PC monitors, you can add ‘PC monitors’ as a negative keyword. This way, people looking for a monitor won’t see or click on your ad, unnecessarily wasting your money.

#3: Different Variations

One way to make sure you reach as many customers as possible is to use different terms for what you’re selling. This includes synonyms, colloquial terms, common misspellings, singular and plural versions, and anything that usually shows up in searches.

The secret is to use these versions for specific searches; don’t include general terms if you don’t want irrelevant clicks on your ad!

#4: Use the Keyword Planner

Google provides site owners with an easy-to-use tool that offers ideas for keywords and gives an estimate of the number of searches per month the keyword receives. As a result, you can estimate your ROI when planning and setting up a new Google AdWords campaign.

The Keyword Planner tool also helps refine your initial keyword ideas to get a list that is more specific. For instance, if your initial keyword list included ‘snow boots’, the tool may show you that ‘cold weather boots’ is another keyword you should consider adding to your campaign.

#5: Be Consistent

As a rule of thumb, the keywords and phrases used in an AdWords campaign should be closely linked to the text you display in the PPC ad. Furthermore, the keywords should match the ones used on the landing page and website in general. This helps Google understand your ads are consistent.

Overall, it’s important to make sure your ads are being clicked on by relevant viewers, i.e. those who are interested in making a purchase. A lot of that comes down to the keywords you choose, making keyword selection crucial to the success of your Google AdWords campaign.

Getting Started with E-Commerce in Auckland – A Beginner’s Guide

There are plenty of advantages to owning an online e-commerce business in Auckland. This includes lowers costs than physical shops because you don’t have to pay rent and you will need fewer employees. An e-commerce website is also easier to maintain.

E-commerce also offers advantages if you already have a business but want to expand online. At the top of that list is the fact your business will be in front of a wider and more diverse audience, increasing your brand presence and getting you more sales.

However, before you move into online sales, you should also know what you’ll have to deal with when starting with e-commerce in Auckland.

E-Commerce Platforms, Shopping Carts & Currency

WooCommerce, Shopify, WIX, Magento, PrestaShop: which one is the best for your online store? They are all shopping carts, and the answer depends on your budget, customisation requirements, and the type of shopping cart you need.

Each of these platforms offers different features, but they all have one thing in common: they power most of the world’s online stores.

Since each platform offers shopping cart solutions, the only challenging part is setting it up for your business needs. This usually means setting your currency, prices, discounts, special offers, and more, which is why you should hire a specialist e-commerce website developer in Auckland for the job.

Most big platform shopping carts offer options for e-commerce businesses that sell globally too.

Regardless of the option you choose, it’s crucial you make sure the settings are correct and that your shopping cart works smoothly.

Choosing a Merchant Solution

Merchant solutions, also known as credit card processing solutions, handle the electronic payments coming through your website.

In most cases, the shopping cart you choose will provide you with several merchant solution options. PayPal is one of the most widely used and trusted, but there are other options too.

Also, think about your customers. PayPal, for example, is great when selling in Auckland and other parts of New Zealand. It is also popular in other countries, although this isn’t universal. Therefore, if you sell internationally, make sure the merchant solution you choose has a user base in your target countries.

The SSL Certificate

SSL stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’ and is a protocol that secures and protects data. The protocol encrypts data, such as personal or financial information, as it travels between your customer’s web browser and the server hosting your e-commerce store.

While the presence or absence of an SSL certificate is important for SEO, when it comes to financial transactions, this certificate is mandatory if you want customers to trust you. After all, would you buy from a site that doesn’t do what it can to protect your personal information?

Integration with Other Software Platforms

Finally, make sure the e-commerce platform you choose can communicate with other software in your business such as inventory, storage management, CMS, CRM, and more.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when starting out with e-commerce in Auckland. Getting them right from the start will save you money, time, and hassle in the future.

A Quick Guide to Local SEO in Auckland

Local SEO in Auckland is super important. In fact, out of every search on Google worldwide, 46% are local. Some examples of local searches are “shoe stores near me” or “best restaurants in Auckland.”

You’ve got a local business and you want to get in on this action. How do you go about optimising your site to rank for local searches in Auckland?

If you follow these easy local SEO strategies, we guarantee you’ll start climbing the rankings on Google.

Google My Business

One of the most important SEO tools that Google provides to local business owners is Google My Business. You can create a listing for your business for free, so there is no reason you should not be using it.

When creating your listing, you should try to provide as much information as possible. By adding your opening hours, address, menu, reviews, and more you’ll help Google understand your business and show it more prominently on search results pages.

Remember, if you have multiple locations for your business, you’ll need to create multiple listings. For instance, if you have one location in North Shore and another in Papakura, you’ll need a separate listing for each to prevent Google from mixing the two in local searches.

Include a Map

One of the most common reasons that people do local searches is to find the location of a business. Therefore, it makes sense to include a map on your website which shows your location. Plus, if your business is difficult to find, directions will help too. This will improve the user experience which helps with local SEO in Auckland.

Create a Contact Page

Following on from the last point, you should also create and optimise a contact page. On this page, you should have the map mentioned above as well as your business name, address, phone number, and email address.

You should also make sure your phone number is clickable from mobile devices so website visitors can call you with ease. Speaking of mobile devices…

Mobile Friendly

Since most local searches are made from a smartphone, you’ll need to make sure your site is mobile friendly. If users can’t access your site from their phones, then you’ll lose out on a lot of traffic.

Testimonials

Google views testimonials, reviews, and star ratings as a sign of trust. Therefore, you should include them on your website, ideally in a prominent location. This will help your brand in general, but it also shows Google your business is one that people want to find.

Create a Blog

Having a blog is a great move for SEO in general, but it can also be a powerful tool for optimising local SEO in Auckland. In your blog posts, use local keywords like suburb names, landmarks, events, and news to bolster the likelihood of your website appearing in results for those searches.

For example, if you have a restaurant in Mount Eden, you will want to appear in the local search “restaurants in Mount Eden” in addition to “restaurants in Auckland”. Having a blog on your website and updating it with content regularly is a great way of achieving this.

The summary of the above is to think about why and how people do local searches. If you can tailor your website and content to deliver what local searchers want, your local SEO in Auckland will improve.

Your Website Design Options in Auckland

You have several options available to get a new website developed in Auckland. This applies whether you’re ready to update your website, launch a new website, start up a blog, or open an e-commerce business.

What are those options, and which one is the best choice?

Here is a summary:

  • DIY
  • Go cheap with a one-person operation
  • Off-shore outsourcing
  • Go for local website design in Auckland

Let’s look at each in more detail.

Do It Yourself

There are various DIY website builders that you can use to build your own website. The great thing about these is they are very easy to use and require little technical knowledge.

They provide you with a graphical user interface, so you never have to worry about coding, plus you can choose from themes, plugins, and more to make your site just the way you want it.

Not only are they easy to use, they are also low-cost – free in some situations. Examples of website builders include Wix, Squarespace, and Bluehost.

However, a major drawback of this approach is that you are limited in terms of design and functionality, plus there are customisation and scalability issues.

Also, you will need to devote a lot of time to the process to get the job done.

One-Person Operation

The next step up from DIY is to get your website designed by someone who knows how to do it and is trying to get into the business. These one-person operations are easy to find across Auckland. Very often, it might even be someone you already know.

This is another low-cost option, but there are considerable downsides to this approach too. Many of those are similar to the drawbacks mentioned above. This is because a one-person website designer in Auckland will have some skills, but they won’t know everything. Plus, it is common to run into resource issues where deadlines get missed because your designer is too busy with too many projects.

Offshore Outsourcing

The internet is full of web designers and developers from all over the world offering their services, and you can take advantage of this by outsourcing your project to an offshore company. If you find the right people, you can get a good custom site for a lower upfront price than you could find elsewhere.

However, there are definitely some obstacles when it comes to offshore outsourcing. When you combine language and cultural barriers with time zone differences, communication can become difficult. Organising the project can be a real headache too.

Plus, and this is an important one, it’s harder to guarantee the right standard of quality from offshore firms.

Therefore, while offshore outsourcing can be attractive in terms of price initially, when you take into account the extra time you will have to spend, as well the cost of correcting quality issues, it usually ends up costing more.

Hire a Local Website Design Company

Your last option is to get local website design in Auckland. In most cases, this is the best option because you will get the skills you need as well as local knowledge, plus you can build a great working relationship with them.

Even though a local company will cost you more initially than the previous options, you will get a better end result which, in the medium and long-term, will cost you less.

This makes hiring a local website design company in Auckland the perfect option if you want a high-quality, customisable, scalable, and reliable website that properly represents your business.

Website Design and SEO – Getting It Right from the Start

The easiest time to optimise your website for SEO is during the initial build phase. Getting it right from the start will give you a foundation to build on in the future. This means using a website designer in Auckland who understands SEO, but what are the things you should be aware of to ensure the job gets done properly? Are there things you can do?

The Website Should be Responsive

The starting point is your website should be responsive. This means using a design that automatically adapts – or responds – to a visitor’s device. In other words, ensuring your website looks great on phones and tablets as well as computers and laptops.

Google is very focused on making the internet mobile-friendly, so this should be at the top of your website designer’s SEO checklist.

One other point you should be aware of is that there are other ways of creating a mobile-friendly version of your website. Making the website responsive is the recommended approach, however, as well as being Google’s preferred option.

Think About SEO When Writing Content

Google uses keywords to connect website pages with people searching. Therefore, you should think about keywords when writing the content of your website pages. Specifically, you should include keywords in the content.

Of course, your primary audience is the people visiting your website, so don’t use too many keywords (which looks spammy) and don’t use keywords in a way that makes sentences sound strange.

Optimise Page Titles, Use Heading Tags, and Write Unique Meta Descriptions

The page title is one of the most important SEO elements of your page. Google uses them to understand the content on the page, plus they appear on search results pages. You should have a unique page title for each page, plus you should include the page’s main keyword in the title.

You should also use heading tags on your pages as Google looks for them. These are often referred to as H1, H2, etc headers. Ideally, include the main keyword of the page in the H1 tag.

Each page on your website should also have a unique meta description. You will have seen many meta descriptions as they appear on all Google search results pages. They are the two lines that appear on a search result below the page title. Again, include the main keyword of the page in the meta description.

Page Loading Speed is Crucial

Google has always been obsessed with speed – it still shows you at the top of a search results page how long it took to do the search. This focus on speed applies to your website too. In other words, if you want to optimise your chances of appearing high on search results pages, you should ensure your website designer makes your website as fast as possible.

The Design Should be User-Friendly

User-friendly designs are important for SEO too. This means ensuring your website is free from clutter while also making menus easy to use and content easy to find. The more user-friendly your website is, the more Google will like it.

Remember, designing a website is not just about making it look great – if this is the primary objective of your website designer you should be concerned. Instead, your website should deliver on your business objectives which, in most cases, means helping you get sales and leads. To do this, you need to get SEO right from the start.

Outsourcing Offshore vs Website Design in Auckland

The internet is truly a gateway to the world. With instant access to such an expansive range of professional services and consultants, outsourcing website design to an individual or agency in a foreign country is possible. Is this the right approach, however, or will you get a better result by getting website design in Auckland?

Although working with web design companies in foreign countries can have its benefits – usually in relation to initial costs – it is always better in the long-term to take advantage of local website design services.

When you choose to work with a local professional, you have access to a vast range of benefits and opportunities which you would otherwise sacrifice when outsourcing your job to another locale. In many cases, these benefits and opportunities offset the initial savings made in relation to cost.

When deciding between website design in Auckland and outsourcing your project offshore, think about whether you would rather have a short-term saving or a long-term benefit. Still can’t decide? Here are four reasons you should always choose the latter by getting website design in Auckland.

1. Kiwis are easier to communicate with

When you and your contractor both work in the same time zone, communications are inherently better than working with somebody eight hours ahead or behind you. From the get-go, you will find it much easier to deal with a web designer who is in the same place as you.

Also, Kiwis have a fantastic work ethic that includes working hard, delivering on promises, and achieving high quality standards. You cannot be sure you will get this same work ethic from a company abroad.

2. Kiwis understand the Auckland area and market

If you operate a local business, then going with an Auckland-based web designer is undoubtedly the best choice. A local web designer understands the local market, so can produce a final product made with that local market in mind.

In addition, when targeting people in a specific locale, local knowledge goes a long way to ensure your website has an authentic local look and feel, i.e. a look and feel that will resonate well with visitors.

3. Building long-term relationships

Making the most from your website and online presence is an ongoing process. By using a good website designer in Auckland, you will have experts who understand your business whenever you need additional services.

There are also networking benefits of choosing local as a local website designer will have plenty of contacts in the area and may be able to put you in touch with other local businesses.

4. Figure out who you’re dealing with

If you outsource your website design abroad, it is much harder for you to check the company’s credentials. After all, anyone can be anyone on the internet and the further afield you cast your net, the harder it is to figure out who you’re dealing with.

When you work with a local Auckland website design agency, you can easily verify its references and credentials by making a few local inquiries.

Finally, website design is typically a collaborative effort. You will achieve the best results when your website designer has a full appreciation of your business, your objectives, and your customers. This is much easier when you can talk to them face-to-face.

Submitting to the App Stores – What You Need to Know

Mobile applications provide several benefits to small business owners and their customers. As most web-based traffic moves to mobile and handheld devices, it’s more important than ever that your small business has a functioning app. Submitting applications to app stores can prove difficult if you’re starting from scratch, though. In this article, we’ll provide you with what you need to know to successfully submit an app to the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Apple App Store

Design for Functionality

Apple prefers apps that provide users with a specific, unique function. An app that purely drives traffic to a website is unlikely to meet Apple’s criteria. In addition, if your app has minimal functionality, it may not get approval either. So, make sure your app provides users with value.

Follow Human Interface Guidelines

Apple provides strict Human Interface Guidelines that help developers build acceptable applications. These guidelines cover a spectrum of different design and architecture rules. Apple does this to provide its users with a harmonious user experience across all available apps.

These guidelines cover app architecture, user interaction, system capabilities, visual design, controls, extensions, and plenty of other crucial components. Not following these guidelines may result in rejection.

Don’t Include Price in the App Description

A simple mistake that a lot of users make when submitting their first app to the App Store is including a price in the description. The Apple App Store sets different prices for different regions, so don’t assume the price remains the same across the board. This is especially true if you plan on submitting your app internationally.

Meet Ethical Standards

Apple provides app developers with content guidelines – certain forms of content are not tolerated. This includes discriminatory and defamatory content, pornographic material, false features, encouragement of the illegal use of weapons, realistic portrayals of violence or death, and more. Make sure you review these guidelines before submitting.

Google Play Store for Android Apps

For those who use Android devices, the Google Play Store provides a separate set of challenges and requirements.

Follow Developer Program Policies

Google provides Developer Program Policies to help you understand the type of applications and methods it accepts. These policies dictate guidelines on restricted content, intellectual property, monetisation, store listing, privacy, and more. Make sure this your first stop when you start developing a new app.

Follow Quality Guidelines

On top of Google’s Developer and Program Policies, there are also Quality Guidelines that your app developers must follow. You can test your app’s core quality before submitting it for approval.

Provide Compatibility Information

Make sure you provide compatibility information to your users. Your app description should include what systems and devices the app is compatible with.

Provide Pricing and Distribution Locations

If your app costs money, you need to set the pricing and the various distribution locations. You will also need to set prices for the different locations. You can restrict your app from various regions if you only want it available in certain countries.

Final Thoughts

As a small business owner, you can save significant time and money when your app meets the requirements of each app store. Redesigning an app after a rejected submission will delay your project and inflate the price of development. Following the guidelines above will help secure app store approval.

5 Web Design Tips for Small Businesses

No matter what you use your small business website for, the design is always a top priority. Your website’s design provides visitors with their first look at your company, so you need to make as good of an impression as possible. Many business owners focus so much on the operational side of their business, however, that they forget about their websites.

In a time where online commerce is an increasingly dominant portion of consumer sales, it’s more important than ever to focus on the design of your website. Here are five key tips that can help you design a customer-focused website.

Follow Modern Trends

Web design constantly evolves, with modern design trends updating regularly. If you want to gain trust and recognition through your website’s design, it’s important to keep up-to-date with modern trends. One way to achieve this is to use a web designer that can provide a minimalist yet aesthetically pleasing design that will never look outdated.

Integrate Tools

There are thousands of developers that provide useful tools and functions you can add to your current website. These tools provide effective ways to improve your site’s functionality and ease your workload on the backend.

If you run an e-commerce site, for example, an effective online shopping cart that enables effortless transactions will be an invaluable addition to any site design.

Interactive comments and community forums can also supply added functionality to your current platform. These are just a few examples of the thousands of integrated tools you can add to any website.

Easy Site Navigation

Modern consumers are impatient, so it’s important to ensure your site is easy to navigate. In particular, the different sections of your website should be clearly accessible when a page first opens. Creating clear, concise drop-down menus can help your customers find what they’re looking for. Plus, your visitors should find it effortless to navigate to any page.

Optimise for Mobile Browsing

Many new business owners make the mistake of only focusing on traditional web browsing when they build their new websites. This ignores the vast majority of people using the internet as mobile browsing is now the most prominent form of web browsing. In other words, more people use phone and handheld devices than traditional computers.

Therefore, optimising your site to respond and display quickly to mobile users will help improve user experience.

Provide Clarity

While this may seem obvious, it is important to provide information about your business on your website. After all, the internet provides plenty of opportunities for scammers and imitators.

By providing information about you, your services, and your experience, you will build trust with visitors. An About Us page can help, as can full contact details (including telephone numbers), testimonials, qualifications, and certifications.

Finally, Never Underestimate Perception

The way your customers perceive your website will reflect on the way they perceive your business. If you want to make the best initial impression possible, it’s important to compare yourself against your competitors.

Online marketing is extremely competitive – if you don’t keep the design of your website up-to-par, you risk falling behind.

Using Website Design to Build Customer Trust in Your Brand

As e-commerce expands, the design of your company’s website is increasingly important. Consumers associate websites with the business behind the site, so it’s essential your business makes a good impression when prospective customers first land on your page. If you look at the websites of top brands, you’ll find they’re designed to build trust and portray an image of professionalism.

So, how can you build customer trust in your brand via your website? The answer comes down to how the website is designed. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key features found on trustworthy websites.

Testimonials

One of the best ways to build trust in your brand is to provide testimonials for your customers. Modern consumers want to understand what past clients have thought of your work, so it’s essential you provide them with honest feedback from your past customers.

This can be done through posting verified testimonials. There are third-party sites you can integrate into your website design that provide testimonials and reviews. This is a great way to give prospective clients immediate access to feedback on your services or products.

Accreditations

If your services or products rely on the expertise or certifications of your company, it’s important you provide customers with your accreditations. You should use the official logos of the accreditation or member society to ensure they appear reliable.

Many companies place these across the top or bottom of their landing pages. Others have entirely separate pages for accreditations. Either way, providing your customers with evidence of your accreditations helps elevate your online brand.

Project Pages (Portfolios)

If you work in the creative space, placing a portfolio on your website is a great way to provide customers with samples of your work. Consumers want evidence that you’re capable of delivering their requests.

The same goes for other types of industries such as construction, home renovation, and more. Project pages displaying recent successful projects can help build trust in your business.

It’s best if the items in your portfolio are verifiable, though. So, if you’re permitted, include information on where your website visitors can find your projects on client pages or in the real world.

Modern Design

Website design is constantly changing making it more important than ever to stay up-to-date with the times if you want to portray yourself as a reliable brand. If you use a rudimentary website design, there’s a high chance your website will appear outdated and out-of-touch. For this reason, you should always seek to keep your website modern and ensure it doesn’t use spammy design techniques that take away from your brand’s image.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Trust

In a world where there are scams around every corner, it’s more important than ever to ensure you have a website design that builds trust in your brand. E-commerce has provided a great platform for many online brands, but it has also increased competition for customers.

If you want to grow your market share, it’s important you use the above features to improve your brand’s reliability.

Five Landing Page Tips for Google AdWords Campaign

Google AdWords is one of the primary ways online businesses drive traffic to their products and services. That said, if you’re planning on starting a Google AdWords campaign, it’s essential you create the best possible landing pages. The better your landing page, the better your ROI will be.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at some tips that will help you optimise your landing page for a Google AdWords campaign. The tips are all aimed at reducing cost per click while also increasing conversion rates.

Use Keywords or Key Phrases Clearly

When customers click on Google AdWords landing pages, they typically have an exact product or service that they’re looking for. For this reason, it’s always important to clearly display the keyword or key phrase in the title of the page.

Doing so provides your customer with an assurance they’ve come to the right place. Remember, your prospective customers have searched those keywords for a reason, so make sure they immediately see you may have the answer.

Call to Action

As with any good landing page, it’s important to have a compelling Call to Action (CTA). Your CTA should help the consumer understand why they’re purchasing your goods or services.

For example, if you’re selling a service that helps generate web-traffic, your CTA should say something like “Help Me Improve My Web Traffic”. Despite this, many landing page designers make the mistake of using simple and non-descriptive CTAs, such as “click here”.

Use Specific Ad Groups

If customers can’t find exactly what they’re looking for quickly, they’re likely to push the back button on their browsers. So, if you have multiple product variations, it’s important to use different ad groups and segments. Plus, create different landing pages for different products or offerings too.

Build Trust Through Clarity

Consumers are becoming more aware of potential scams and unethical companies. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to build trust with your prospective customers. If customers find your current offering dodgy, they probably won’t stick around on your landing page for very long.

One of the best ways to build trust in your brand is to provide immediate clarity to those who visit your landing page. For example, let prospective customers know who you are and what your business represents.

You should also ensure your landing page uses modern website design techniques. After all, nothing screams unreliable like an outdated website.

Mobile Optimisation

As mobile browsing overtakes traditional browsing, there’s a high chance a substantial proportion of your web traffic comes via mobile devices. Mobile optimisation, therefore, is an increasingly important part of building a great landing page for a Google AdWords campaign.

Optimising specific landing pages to work with mobile devices will ensure your website loads quickly and maintains a professional appearance. This is key to ensuring you keep the interest of prospective customers.

Landing Pages are Key to Your Success

In a Google AdWords campaign, your landing page is your primary contact point with your prospective customers. So, it is important it’s optimised to convert as many sales as possible. You will achieve this by using the above tips.

Do Small Businesses Need SEO?

SEO is a powerful process that has the potential to make the difference between success and failure for your business.

This may sound dramatic. However, 50% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone end up visiting a store that same day. So, being at the fingertips of these customers is now one of the biggest competitive advantages your local business can have.

This isn’t the only benefit of SEO, though, as there are multiple advantages to small businesses in Auckland.

SEO Delivers Return on Investment Over the Long-Term

When the time is right, paid campaigns should have a place in your short-term marketing strategy. After all, paid advertising generates clicks and potential customers almost immediately.

Organic SEO, on the other hand, should always be a part of your long-term marketing strategy.

This is because organic search brings you engaged visitors over the long term. If you can provide useful content that answers queries, informs, or entertains, you will find that users interact naturally with your website.

As a result, your return on investment from SEO improves over time.

Users are Making More Local Searches

New Zealanders (like citizens in every other country in the world) now clearly demonstrate a preference for mobile devices over desktop devices. As these devices grow in number, so do the number of hours we spend on them per day.

Just look at ownership numbers: there were 3.8 million mobile phones with active internet connections in New Zealand in June 2017, up 11 percent from the same time in 2016.

Where does this fit into SEO? Well, according to Google, one-third of all mobile searches made each day are related to location. As more and more users turn to their smartphones to find out about the world around them with local searches, you need to be there. The best way to get in front of those searchers is through local SEO.

A Solid Local SEO Strategy is Key to Success

Check out this statistic:

  • 76% of local searches result in a phone call

Every local business wants customers and potential customers to get in contact with them. This lets you start building a relationship as early as possible. As 76% of local searches result in a phone call, SEO is an important part of that relationship-building process.

A solid, well-structured SEO strategy can put you in front of the Auckland customers that have an immediate need to get in touch with your business.

Remember, Your Competitors Probably Have an SEO Strategy Too

Whichever industry your small business operates in, your competitors are almost certainly involved in Search Engine Optimisation too. This means you need to do the same or you risk losing customers to them.

Plus, you should start as early as possible to give yourself the biggest advantage. This is because building authority and ranking can take time, and you never know when your competitors are going to come into the picture.

If you remember one thing from this post, it should be this: SEO is not just reserved for large businesses. Small business owners like you absolutely can benefit, so you need to get in on the action.

What Are Negative Keywords in Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is the foremost advertising service on the web. Countless digital advertisers use the service to display advertisements within the Google ad network to web users around the world.

In fact, the service is so popular that an estimated 97 percent of Google’s annual revenues are generated by its advertising services.

But where does this gigantic service fit into your plan as a small business?

Well, when used properly, estimates show businesses can make $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on the platform.

AdWords is difficult to master, though. It has many nuances and its users can spend years mastering its intricacies and improving the results their ads achieve.

Building an understanding of key concepts is a critical step on the path to using AdWords effectively. Negative keywords is one of those key concepts. While many new AdWords users sometimes struggle to understand negative keywords, it is a concept that is central to making AdWords work for your business.

What are Negative Keywords?

In a nutshell, negative keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaigns. That means negative keywords are an important way of ensuring your campaigns are hyper-focused on the keywords that really matter to your customers.

Effectively using negative keywords also ensures you don’t waste money on irrelevant clicks.

Here’s an example to illustrate. Let’s say you are a small business in Auckland that offers window cleaning services. You will not want to pay for clicks when people search for “house cleaning services” or “car cleaning services”. So, depending on how you set up your campaign, you may need to add those as negative keywords.

How do Negative Keywords Work?

Defining which search terms you don’t want to appear for is just as important as defining which you do want to appear for. After all, you don’t want to pay for clicks from people who are looking for something different to what you offer.

An intelligent approach to using negative keywords can protect your investment and make sure you spend money to appear for the right terms. It takes a lot of lateral thinking, however, as well as experience. An effective SEO agency in Auckland can help with the process.

Also, Google provides step-by-step guidance on using negative keywords in this support article.

What to Keep in Mind When Using Negative Keywords

It is important to understand there are a couple of circumstances where negative keywords are not effective 100% of the time:

  1. Where your ad displays on search results pages that contain close variations of your negative keywords.
  2. When users perform searches that are over ten words long. This is because negative keywords are not excluded after the tenth word. There are workarounds for this scenario, however, such as excluding large portions of those searches as negative keywords.

You should also bear in mind that if you use too many negative keywords, this can dramatically reduce the number of potential customers your ad reaches. Striking a balance is critical.

The key to success is constantly monitoring your campaigns, analysing the results, and making changes to negative keywords and the campaign’s other settings to continually optimise. When you do this, return on investment improves.

Mobile App Design Trends

There is no denying that app design continues to evolve and improve as new technologies become available. Increased memory capacity, CPU performance, and general hardware design mean our devices can do much more today than they did even just a few years ago.

Everything from office productivity apps all the way through to gaming and virtual reality apps are all seeing massive progress. What are the current trends in mobile app design, however?

Of course, predicting design trends is always a risky business. What is clear is that mobile app design is becoming increasingly important as users continue to switch from using desktops to using mobile devices instead.

Virtual Reality

Possibly the most exciting development in mobile app design is VR, or virtual reality, and AR, augmented reality. AR and VR are not new by any means, but advances in hardware technology make it possible to use them in a wider range of applications.

While there are still some who believe VR and AR will remain a niche market, the power of modern mobile devices has led to new investments in the technology, with many predicting AR and VR will become much more widely used than they are now.

Nintendo’s Pokémon Go AR game is a good example. While its popularity has decreased, it was an unprecedented success. In fact, few predicted that an AR game like Pokémon Go would capture the imagination and do so well. In fact, its success is leading others to pursue AR and VR projects.

Focus on User Experience

App designers are becoming increasingly focused on user experience. It is important to make a distinction between user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), however, as they are two very different things, despite common misconceptions.

UI is about the visual appearance of an app while UX is more about usability and how the app makes users feel.

This is important as today’s app users prefer simple and uncluttered apps that are easy to use and have useful functionality. In most cases, it is the content of the app that is of most interest to a user, not fancy graphics or indulgent typography.

Colour and UI

Colour theory is another element of mobile app design that you need to consider. The current trend is for calming pastels and gradients.

As we hear more stories of people taking a break from their smartphone and tablet to get “off-grid”, it is important for app designers, business owners, and tech leaders to discover why so many people now view their phones as having a negative impact on their life. While colours and other visual elements are not the solution, making apps aesthetically appealing will always be important.

Wearable Tech and the Internet of Things

On the surface, it may seem the wearable device trend hit its peak with the Apple Watch. However, it may not be done yet.

In fact, it’s predicted that, by 2019, 200 million wearable devices will be sold. This will impact the app design industry in several ways. For example, many app developers and app owners will need to think about how their apps can be used on smaller screens. In addition, wearable devices will create opportunities for new apps, concepts, business models, and ideas.

The Future

No-one really knows what the future holds for app design, but it is an exciting time, not least because technology is advancing at such a breath-taking pace. Knowing the latest trends will help you stay ahead of the curve.

What Are Backlinks and Why are they Important to SEO?

As you’re reading this blog, you probably want to get more traffic to your website. Somewhere along the way, you may have heard the term “backlinks” and the fact they are important to SEO.

How do backlinks work, however, and what are they?

What Are Backlinks?

So-called (and self-appointed) SEO experts often use a load of fancy terminology and jargon to dazzle you and make them sound better than what they are. More often than not, however, they leave you with more questions than answers.

When you break most elements of SEO down, however, it is actually really simple. This applies to backlinks too. In fact, a backlink is just a normal link, a web address, a hyperlink, an inbound link… whatever you want to call it. At the end of the day, it’s just a link.

The reason people refer to these links as backlinks is because they are found on a website other than yours. When a user clicks on that link they go from the third-party website to yours.

Why Are Backlinks Important?

So, now to answer the most important question: why are backlinks important?

Search engines constantly comb the internet using what are known as spiders to analyse the content, images, and other elements of every web page they find. Search engine spiders also explore and follow the links found on those pages.

So, backlinks help Google find and connect web pages on the internet. Actually, if you have a website that has no backlinks and you don’t manually submit it to Google, the search engine has no way of knowing it exists.

In addition, Google puts all the information it finds about each web page into its index. It then applies ranking factors to that information to give search users such as Google and Bing accurate and relevant results.

Backlinks are one of those ranking factors. In fact, they are one of the most important as Google uses them like a vote for the website.

In other words, web pages with the most good-quality backlinks (votes) are more likely to rank in higher positions.

Putting this Into Practice

Search engines are crucially important to the success of many websites and businesses. In addition, search traffic can be an important source of lead generation and revenue.

If this applies to you, it is important you take steps to earn backlinks to your website.

In other words, constantly getting good quality backlinks is a key part of having a wider SEO strategy. However, it isn’t as easy as just posting a backlink as a comment on a website that gets lots of users. Google and other search engines require much more than this.

For example, backlinks to your website should ideally be on web pages that contain content that is relevant to the content on your page. So, getting a friend who has a highly ranked website for her tree surgeon business to post a backlink to your catering business is unlikely to be as effective as getting backlinks from catering-related website pages.

So, the best strategy is to get backlinks from high-quality and relevant websites. Doing this will help your website rise through the search engine rankings which will help you attract a larger audience.

The Most Important Web Design Tip You’ll Ever Hear

There are hundreds of best practice guidelines to follow when designing a new website. If you have a good website designer, they will look after most of them. There are some, however, that you will be involved with, including the most important of all. That’s right – you play a crucial role in getting the most important part of the website design process right.

So, this is most important web design tip you’ll ever hear.

Ready?

Here it is: make sure you design your website for your customers.

It sounds simple, but you don’t have to look far on the internet to find websites that are not designed for users/customers. Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • Homepages that talk about the size of the company, when the company was founded, or the size of its turnover
  • Service and product pages that have very little information
  • Unnatural and/or counter-intuitive navigational structures

The above are all examples of website elements created from the perspective of the company. Take the last one, for example. This often happens when website menus are designed according to how the business operates rather than how users search.

Benefits of Designing for Your Customers

  • Visitors will spend more time on your website
  • Visitors will find the information they need faster and with less hassle
  • Visitors will get a better understanding of what you offer as well as your capabilities
  • You will convert more of these visitors into customers

How to Design Your Website for Your Customers

  1. Start by defining who your main customers are. Think about things like age, gender, interests, and more. It is also important to think about the motivations that bring visitors to your website. This will influence the overall style and design. For example, if you are a financial advisor, the motivation might be security and preparing for the future. If you run a nightclub, on the other hand, your website visitors will be more interested in fun and entertainment.
  2. Visitors to your website will have a problem they need an answer for. That problem might be finding a contractor to renovate their home, a mechanic to fix their car, or a plumber to install a new hot water cylinder. Identify the problems your visitors are thinking about when they visit your site.
  3. This final stage may involve you directly if, for example, you are providing the content for your website. In addition, you will be involved in guiding the website designer and approving design elements. When doing this, make sure everything appeals to the customer you defined in point one above. Make sure all design elements fit with the visitor motivations you identified too. Your website should also answer or solve the problems you identified in point two above.

An example of the last point is the homepage of your website. As mentioned above, many companies use the homepage to tell visitors how good their company is, i.e. when it was founded, how big it has grown, etc. The vast majority of your website visitors don’t care about this information.

Instead, your website visitors care about the problem they have. There are three things they want to learn:

  1. Do you understand their problem?
  2. Do you have a solution?
  3. Will your solution solve their problem?

The pages you create, the navigational structure of your website, and the information the website contains must provide answers to all the above.

By doing this, you will get the most important element of your website right – designing it for your customers.

What Is UX and Why Is It Important in Web Design?

Have you heard website designers and others talk about UX? It is one of those jargon terms that people in the website design industry often use without thinking. What is UX, though, and why is it important?

UX stands for user experience. So, UX is the part of the website design process that focuses on user experience.

What is User Experience?

User experience, or UX, involves considering the emotions and attitudes of people using your website. The goal with UX design is to ensure your website is meaningful and relevant to users.

As a result, it covers just about every aspect of your website’s design. This includes navigational structure, the layout of content on the page, the detail of content on the page, the branding and colour scheme, how easy it is to use the website’s functions, and more.

Importantly, it is different to UI design – UI stands for user interface. UI design is more about the visual aesthetics of the website. UX design, on the other hand, involves looking at the UI, among other things, to ensure it delivers a good user experience.

As you can see, UX can be quite a complex topic. It is possible, however, to boil it down to something very simple: does your website help visitors achieve their objective and is the process of doing so painless?

Here are two examples:

  1. Building contractor website – does the website explain the building contractor’s capabilities while also building trust and confidence that the contractor will be able to deliver as promised? In addition, is it quick and easy for visitors to find contact information and/or request a quote?
  2. Online clothing retailer – do visitors find it easy to find the products they want, are all charges and terms easy to find and understand, and is the checkout process secure, smooth, and easy to complete?

Why Is UX Important in Website Design?

UX is important as it helps ensure your website achieves your objectives. Let’s go back to the two examples above to illustrate this. The building contractor, for example, might have a high-quality, modern, and very professional website, but if it doesn’t give visitors enough information about the company’s experience and capabilities, visitors might leave without making an enquiry. In other words, the website will fail to meet its objectives.

Similarly, an online clothing retailer that has a checkout process that makes visitors concerned about the security of their information may have a higher-than-normal shopping cart abandonment rate, i.e. people who start but don’t finish the checkout process. This is another example of a website that fails to meet its objectives.

Three Tips to Achieve Good UX Design

  1. Start by trying to look at your website from the perspective of your customers. This can include, for example, going through the checkout process in exactly the same way your customers do.
  2. Ask real visitors what they like and don’t as well as why they did or didn’t do something. Make sure you ask these questions as impartially as possible and don’t get defensive when visitors are critical.
  3. Regularly review the analytics of your website to identify issues. For example, do you have a web page that gets a lot of website traffic but doesn’t convert? What changes can you make to that web page to improve the user experience?

As you can see from the last point, UX is an ongoing process. That said, it is important to focus on delivering a good user experience from the start of the website design process.

What Is Responsive Website Design and Why Does it Matter?

Responsive website design has never been more important. What exactly is it, though, and why is it so important?

In simple terms, responsive website design ensures your website looks great on any size of screen. It is dynamic technology which means your website will automatically detect the size of screen a visitor is using. So, for example, it can tell the difference between a large computer monitor, a mid-size iPad screen, and the screen on a smartphone.

Your website will then “respond” to this screen to rearrange the content so it fits properly on the user’s device. Most responsive websites also have other elements that change depending on the size of the screen, such as the design of the menu.

Is This the Only Option Available to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly?

Responsive website design is one of two main options you have to make your website mobile-friendly. The other option is to create a mobile version of your website. In other words, developing a separate version of your website that fits and works properly on mobile devices.

As with responsive website design, mobile websites also operate dynamically. This means your website will detect the size of screen your visitor is using and will then show them the most appropriate version of your website, i.e. the desktop version or the mobile version.

Which is the Best Option – Responsive Website Design or a Mobile Website?

Most experts recommend you go for responsive website design. There are two main reasons for this.

The first is there are no standard sizes of device or screen. As a result, visitors to your website could use just about any size of screen. When you create a mobile version of your website, you will make it suitable for as many sizes as possible. It is very hard (if not impossible), however, to create a version for every screen size possibility. This means some users may have a poor user experience.

The other reason why experts recommend responsive websites rather than mobile websites is management. With a mobile website, you will have two standalone websites to manage. So, for example, when adding content, you must add it to both.

With a responsive website design, you only have one website which is much easier to manage.

Why Does Responsive Website Design Matter?

Many people would say responsive website design is important because it helps with your ranking on Google. We’ll come back to this in a moment, however, as there is a much more important reason for ensuring your website is responsive and fully optimised for mobile – your users.

More and more people now use their phones to not only browse the internet, but also perform tasks on the internet they would previously have only done on a computer. So, if your website is not responsive, mobile users will have a poor user experience. This will impact the performance of your website and the results it achieves.

Turning back to Google, it also recognises the growing trend of people using mobiles to access the internet. In addition, Google wants to ensure its users – the people who use its search engine – have as good a user experience as possible. As a result, it prioritises mobile-friendly websites when people use its search engine on a mobile device.

In other words, if you don’t have a responsive website design, you may get fewer visitors than you could, and the visitors you do get will receive a poor user experience if they are using a mobile device.

So, if your website isn’t responsive, the time to act is now.

The App Development Process Explained

If you’ve got an idea for an app and are wondering how the design process works, the following outline will give you a better understanding. While all app development projects are unique, the steps below are fairly generic to all types of apps.

Those steps are:

  • Information gathering
  • Technical and budget feasibility assessment
  • UX and UI design followed by wireframe creation
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Upload to the relevant app store

Let’s look at each of the steps in more detail.

Information Gathering

This is where the app development project leader meets with you to get an understanding of the type of app you want to build. The lead designer might also be involved in this conversation.

They will want to find out about the functionality you want in the app as well as how you want the app to look, but they will also be interested in finding out who your target audience is, what your objectives are for the app, and what your future plans are.

Technical and Budget Feasibility Assessment

This stage involves checking if it is possible to deliver the functionality you require from a technical and budgetary point of view. Things like operating system version and mobile phone type will be investigated at this stage also. For example, you may need functionality on your app that is only available on phones with the latest version of the iOS or Android operating system.

UX Design, UI Design, and Wireframe Creation

This stage involves designing the visual appearance of the app as well as the user experience and user interface. The user experience element ensures the flow of the app is correct, so the app is intuitive and easy to use. For example, deciding on the navigational structure of the app.

The user interface design involves creating and designing buttons, content on the page, and navigational tools, among other things. Wireframe creation involves sketching the various screens of the app to give you an understanding of the how the app will look and feel.

Development

Once you approve the wireframes, the development stage can begin. This involves writing the code of the app to build the functionality you need and to create the design. A high-quality app developer will follow the latest industry best practices during this stage. This includes, crucially, documenting the code as it is written.

The app may go through several iterations during this stage of the process to ensure the functionality created matches your expectations.

Testing

Once the main development phase is complete, full-scale testing of the app will begin. This involves testing on as many different phones and operating system versions as possible.

You can’t make an app that is guaranteed to work on all devices, though, so the objective is ensuring it appeals to as many of your potential users as possible.

Upload to the Relevant App Store

After the testing phase, and after you have given your approval, the app can be uploaded to the relevant app store. If it is an iOS app for Apple devices, this means uploading to the App Store. If it is an Android app for Android devices, it means uploading to the Google Play Store.

Once the app is approved by the app store, it will be available for users to download.

Now you understand the process better, it is time to get started with your app development project.

Are You Proud or Embarrassed by Your Business Website?

Is your website something you are proud of or does it make you cringe when you think about it? This is a crucial question to consider because whatever you think about your website, visitors probably think the same. At the very least, a website that is not up to the right standard won’t portray the right image of your company.

When analysing your existing website, here are the things you should consider:

  • Does the website have a modern design? Modern designs are uncluttered and clean.
  • Does the website properly reflect your brand? Has your logo changed, for example, or did the original design not quite get the branding right?
  • Is the website easy to use? When considering this question, remember to think about it from the perspective of visitors to the website, i.e. people who are unfamiliar with it. Will they be able to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily? Does the website do everything visitors expect it to do?
  • Does everything on your website work as it should? Even if it worked when you first launched it, upgrades to platforms, plugins, third-party integrations, and other code can cause features to break.
  • Is the website optimised for search engines with modern SEO practices and techniques?
  • Is the content on the website up-to-date? For example, are there products or services on the site that you no longer offer? Are there products or services missing? Is all the contact information correct?
  • Is the website easy to update and manage?
  • What does your website look like on mobile devices? Do all the features work when you access it on a mobile? The importance of this cannot be understated given the numbers of people who now browse the internet using their phones. Also, if the mobile version of your website does not work properly, it will not perform as well in Google search as it could.
  • Has the code of the website been updated recently, particularly in relation to security patches? If not, your website could be vulnerable to hacking.
  • Does the website load fast, including on mobile devices?
  • Does the website have all the functionality you want?

If any of the above points give you cause for concern, you should seriously think about getting a new website for your business.

Investing in the Future of Your Business

Getting a new website is an investment that will generate returns for your business. Here are some of the benefits that getting a new website will bring:

  • The website will showcase your brand properly and will better represent your business
  • You will get more traffic to the website through various channels, including from Google
  • Visitors will spend more time on the website
  • Your conversion rate will improve, i.e. you will generate more revenue and profit for your business

Several years ago, business owners in some industries could treat websites as an optional extra. This is not the case anymore. Not only do you now need a business website, you also need the website to be modern, fully functional, and in-line with current industry best practice standards. If yours doesn’t meet this standard, it is time to get a new one.

Is Your Website Attracting the Team Members You Want?

When most business owners and directors think about their website, they think about it in terms of their customers. Usually, this means ensuring the website helps generate interest from new customers, although websites can also play an important role in retaining existing customers too. What about recruitment in your business, though? Is your website attracting the team members your business needs to deliver for your customers and achieve your objectives?

Remember, almost all prospective candidates for vacancies in your business will check your website as part of the application process. Often, this happens before they submit their CV.

So, your website needs to sell your company to candidates considering applying for a job. Does your website concisely and accurately describe what you do, for example? Does it clearly outline the company’s mission as well as your vision and future ambitions?

Presenting the Right Image

One of the goals of your website should be to make job applicants want to work for you. This doesn’t just happen on the career or recruitment pages of the website. Instead, you need to think about the whole site.

Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

  • Describe the culture of your company – this is one of the key things that prospective candidates will look for when they visit your website. After all, your website is one of the best windows that candidates have into what your company is really like. So, tell them.
  • Ensure the content on the recruitment pages of your website appeals to the candidates your business needs – make sure you highlight things that will appeal to the candidates you want to attract. For example, salary, promotion prospects, flexible working options, training opportunities, etc.
  • Publish a mission statement – a mission statement is a summary of the objectives and values of your company.
  • Use video to tell your story – videos will give you an edge over other companies competing for the same talent. It could be a corporate video that you can use for other purposes in the business, or you could develop something specific, such as a behind the scenes-type video that includes introductions to key personnel.
  • Optimise the application process – if candidates apply for vacancies directly through your website, make sure the application process is as streamlined and intuitive as possible. If you don’t have a facility on your website that lets candidates apply for vacancies, you should consider adding this feature.
  • Include testimonials – testimonials give clients confidence in the abilities of your business. You can get similar benefits with employee testimonials. After all, an employee describing the culture of the company from their perspective is often more powerful than your own description.
  • Include a strong call-to-action – the final tip is to make sure you directly ask potential job applicants to take the next step using a call-to-action. In most cases, this will be something like an “Apply Now” button. As with other calls-to-action on your website, make sure it gets to the point and is highly visible on the page.

Your website can’t solve all your recruitment headaches but optimising it will make a significant difference.

Website? App? Neither, or Both?

Mobile use has exploded in recent years presenting an interesting dilemma for small and medium-sized business owners in NZ – should you invest in a new website, an app, or both?

After all, you want to engage your customers in a way that is most relevant to them. If they use their phones a lot, then is an app the best way to go? What advantages do websites offer that apps can’t?

More Than a Website – a Mobile-Friendly Website

When considering this question, you shouldn’t simply think of it as a website vs app equation. Instead, you should think about the mobile-friendly version of your website.

Web developers normally make your website mobile-friendly by using a responsive design. This means your website dynamically changes according to the device of the user.

So, let’s narrow the question down further – should you invest in a responsive website that is 100 percent mobile-friendly, or should you go for an app instead?

Advantages of a Mobile-Friendly Website

For most small businesses, the answer is almost always a mobile-friendly website. This is because businesses in most industries will struggle to get real and tangible benefits from having an app. In addition, a mobile-friendly website will deliver significantly higher returns on investment.

Why? Here are the main advantages of having a mobile-friendly website:

  • Easier to find – most people go to Google when searching for a product, service, or brand. The results they see when they search are all websites.
  • Compatibility – mobile-friendly websites built using a responsive design will be compatible with just about any device. An app, however, can only run on the platform it is designed for.
  • Easier to upgrade – with a website, you are in complete control of upgrading it. You can choose when and what to upgrade, and you can push the update live whenever you want. With an app, however, the process is much more complex. Even when you go through it, some users might still use the old version of the app.
  • Wider reach – as users can find your website on Google and other search engines, it will have a much wider potential reach than an app.
  • Immediacy – users can simply click and view a website which is a much simpler process than searching, downloading, and installing an app.
  • More cost-effective – when you take all the costs involved including App store fees, the cost of development, and the cost of maintenance and future upgrades, websites are significantly more cost-effective than apps.

When Do Apps Make Sense?

What about situations where it does make sense to have an app. Generally, your app should meet one or more of the following four requirements to make it a worthwhile investment:

  1. Gaming – users like playing games on their phones so apps often work better than websites if you’re creating a game.
  2. High use – this means daily use, and often multiple times a day. Examples include social media, fitness tracking, and to-do list apps.
  3. Native functionality is required – you may also need an app if you require native phone functionality that web browsers don’t support. An example is access to the phone’s camera.
  4. Offline access – it may also make sense to go for an app if users require regular offline access.

As you can see, however, the above requirements are very specific. In most cases, a website is the best way to go, providing it is fully mobile-friendly.

Websites – on their way in or out?

Are websites still relevant, or is the world now starting to move on? Are people now using social media while ignoring websites? What about apps – are they now more important to businesses than websites?

All these questions centre on one consideration – should you spend time and money investing in your website or should you invest in other forms of digital marketing instead?

Lots of new technologies have threatened to overtake websites and, in some industries, they have. Take Facebook, for example, as there are far more people who access Facebook on a smartphone than on a computer. The majority of those people use the Facebook app to login to their accounts.

What about more generally, however? Specifically, what about your business?

Constantly Changing Landscape

It is true that the digital landscape is constantly changing. The increasing use of mobile phones is yet again a good example. This change has led to Google recently adopting a mobile first indexing policy. This means it checks the mobile version of a website before the desktop version when updating its search index.

To date, however, the importance of websites has remained undiminished despite this changing landscape. In fact, in many situations, the importance of websites has increased.

In the above example of Google’s mobile first policy, the strong advice for all website owners is to review, update, and improve how their website looks and operates on smartphones. By doing this, you increase the possibility of getting more traffic to your website.

That hardly sounds like a technology that is on the way out.

What About Apps?

What about mobile apps – could they overtake websites? Again, in some cases, mobile apps are becoming more important. We’ve already mentioned the example of social media but there are others too, including games – game apps are incredibly popular.

For most businesses, however, websites are a far more important marketing tool than an app. This is because people still go to Google when looking for a product or service. They still go to Google or your website directly when looking for directions to your business too, or to get your telephone number. There are not many people who would turn to an app when looking for this information.

In fact, many SMEs are struggling to get a return on investment from there apps. Even if they get people to install the app on their phone, how do they get them to regularly use it? Just look at all the apps on your phone that you haven’t opened in ages to see how difficult a problem this is for app owners.

What About Social Media?

Social media is another argument sometimes offered by those who think websites are on the way out. After all, you can set up a business page on Facebook easily and for free.

Social media is very restrictive, however, plus you must play by the platform’s rules. You can’t, for example, design your Facebook business page however you want.

Also, you are at the mercy of the platform, something which is a highly risky strategy for businesses that only have a presence on social media.

Websites Are Critically Important Today and Will Be in the Future

There is no reliable information that websites are becoming less important to business. On the contrary, people increasingly expect to be able to find out about and interact with your business through a website.

So, websites are not on the way out. They are here, and they are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

A Guaranteed Way to be Number 1 on Google

Is there a guaranteed way to be number one on Google? When you think of this question, it is a logical impossibility. After all, if there was a guaranteed way, everyone would do it which would render the technique useless. After all, everyone can’t be number one.

This doesn’t mean you should give up all hope of getting to the top spot of Google. For a start, you should be able to get to the top spot for your business name – that is relatively straightforward. When most people talk about getting to number one on Google, however, they are referring to being in the top spot for other keywords in addition to their business name.

So, while there are no guarantees, here are six tips which will increase your chances of being number 1 on Google.

Tip 1 – Adhere to Google’s Quality Guidelines

Trying to trick your way to number one spot on Google simply won’t work, particularly in the long term. The only way to get real and lasting results is to use open and honest strategies.

A good place to start is to check if your website and SEO strategies adhere to Google’s Quality Guidelines.

Tip 2 – Target the Right Keywords

The keywords you choose to target are critically important to the success of your SEO strategy. Let’s say you are a mortgage adviser, for example. You are likely to find it almost impossible to rank highly for the keyword “mortgages” because it is too competitive. Therefore, you probably should not spend time or money trying.

The more successful approach is to target other keywords. This includes local search terms such as “mortgage advisor <location>”. It also includes more specific search terms, such as “first-time buyer mortgages <location>”.

While there is still no guarantee with these keywords, you will increase your chances of success.

Tip 3 – Optimise Your Website for Keywords

Once you have decided on the keywords you want to target, you need to optimise your content for those keywords. This usually means the following:

  • Creating a separate page for each main keyword
  • Including the keyword in the page title
  • Including the keyword in the H1 tag
  • Including the keyword in the first paragraph of the page and sporadically elsewhere
  • Including variations of the keyword in the page’s sub-headings and content
  • Including the keyword in the page’s meta description

Tip 4 – Add Lots of Content to Your Website

You should also publish lots of high-quality and unique content to your website. This can help with the next tip, plus it helps Google get a better understanding of your website and your level of authority in the field. Google also likes websites that are active.

Tip 5 – Get Links from High-Quality Sources

Backlinks remain one of the most important factors in SEO. Google treats links from other websites to yours as an indicator of your website’s quality. There are two things you should remember about links:

  • You need lots of them – the more the better
  • But only if they come from good quality sources

In other words, there is no way of faking links that will deliver sustainable results. This may have been possible in the past, but the only realistic option you have now is to build genuine links from quality websites.

Tip 6 – Use Alternative Strategies

The final tip we have is to forget about getting to the top spot in Google’s organic search results. This is because you have other options:

  • Use Google My Business and optimise your listing and website for local searches. This is because Google’s local search results are separate to the organic listings, plus they appear above the organic listings.
  • Use Google AdWords, optimising your campaign to get into one of the top ad positions. These positions also appear above organic search results.
  • If you sell products, promote them using Google Shopping ads which are more attractive on search results pages than organic listings, plus they typically appear at the top of the page.

If you choose to go the SEO route, however, make sure you put in place a long-term strategy. This is the best way get the results you need.

Websites are an asset, so build your business balance sheet

Most people regard the development of a website as being a cost to the business. In accounting terms, this means it is written off in one hit on your profit and loss, typically in the year you get the website developed. There is another option available to you, however – treating your website as a fixed asset.

When you do this, the website moves from your profit and loss to your balance sheet, removing the one-off hit of the cost of development.

Before going further, we are not accountants at Business Website Group. This means you should always take professional advice when making any decisions relating to the accounts of your business.

In the view of many experts, though, a website can be regarded as a fixed business asset.

What is a Fixed Asset?

A fixed asset is something in your business that you purchase to help you generate income. Office equipment, a vehicle, or a machine are all common examples.

Fixed assets typically have a useable life after which they fail or become obsolete and need to be replaced.

In accounting terms, you don’t record the cost of purchasing a fixed asset in your profit and loss statement. Instead, you put it on your balance sheet. Then, over the usable life of the asset, you record its depreciation, effectively spreading the cost of purchasing the asset over several years rather than one.

Is Your Website a Fixed Asset?

So, can you treat your website as a fixed asset? In most cases, you probably can. The only real exception to this would be a website that is purely a brochure site that contains information about the business and what you do, but contains no calls to action, lead generation tools, or ecommerce functionality.

In reality, however, websites like this are becoming increasingly rare as digital marketing in all industries becomes increasingly important.

So, if you expect your website to help you directly generate income over the coming years, you can regard it as a fixed asset and put the cost of development on your balance sheet.

In other words, if you expect your business to financially benefit from the website over several years, you can spread the cost of developing that website over that same period of time.

What Are the Benefits of Treating Your Website as a Fixed Asset?

Treating your website as a fixed asset strengthens the balance sheet of your business. It also means you don’t have to write off the cost of building the website against one year’s profit.

Of course, this may not be something everyone wants to do. There will some situations, for example, where it makes more sense to include the cost of building the website in your profit and loss. Only you and your accountant can make that decision depending on your circumstances.

The important thing to remember, however, is you have options based on the value of the website to your business over the long-term.

SEO vs SEM: How and When Should Your Business Be Doing These

SEO and SEM are the two strategies you can use to promote your business in Google. What do the two terms mean, however, what are the differences, and when should you use them.

The fact is, there are differences between the two and both strategies are appropriate in different circumstances, primarily based on your objectives.

That said, you can use both together, enabling you to achieve multiple objectives.

Let’s start at the beginning, though – what are SEO and SEM and how do they differ.

SEO vs SEM

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This applies to the organic (non-paid) results in Google search. SEO involves strategies and actions designed to improve your position in organic search for keywords related to your business, industry, products, and services.

In practical terms, this means getting as close to the top of page one of Google as possible.

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. It applies to paid methods of promoting your business in Google search. Two of the most common methods of doing this are via Google AdWords and Google Shopping.

Google AdWords applies to all businesses and lets you target people searching for specific keywords in your location.

Google Shopping applies to ecommerce retailers. It involves uploading your product data feed to Google. When people search for products in your data feed, your listing can appear as a Google Shopping ad on the search results page. This listing includes an image, product rating, and price.

When Should You Use SEO?

SEO is a medium-to-long term marketing strategy. Often, it can take several months for an SEO strategy to begin bringing higher levels of traffic to your website. The results you achieve, however, are long-lasting.

In other words, if you get to a high position on page one of Google for a keyword, that will bring you traffic for as long as you retain the position.

So, you should use SEO when you want to make lasting improvements to your website’s appearance in search and when you want to get increasing levels of consistent and regular traffic to your website over the medium-to-long term.

When Should You Use SEM?

SEM is a much more immediate advertising and marketing strategy. Most SEM campaigns work on a PPC (Pay Per Click) model, so you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. This means you will start getting traffic to your website very soon after launching a new campaign – often on the same day.

The results from SEM, however, are not long-lasting. In other words, you will only get traffic to your website while there is an active campaign. Once you stop paying Google, the SEM-related traffic stops too.

Joined Up Approach

The most effective way to get maximum results from Google is to have both an SEO and SEM strategy. The SEM element will bring traffic to your website immediately, helping you generate immediate sales. The SEO element will then work in the background, improving your website’s ranking in search and gradually increasing the volumes of organic traffic you get from Google over the longer term.

SEO, SEM, PPC – the A to Z of digital jargon explained

There is a lot of jargon in digital marketing, so to help you understand what it’s all about, here are 22 of the most important jargon terms explained.

  1. Algorithm – this is a computer programme used by search engines like Google. It contains the rules those search engines use to rank websites on search results pages.
  2. Backlink – a backlink is when a third-party adds a clickable link on its website that links back to yours. When the third-party is a reputable website, Google regards the backlink as being like a vote of confidence in your site. In other words, backlinks help with SEO.
  3. Black Hat – this refers to SEO strategies that go against Google’s policies. They are sometimes referred to as spamming.
  4. Bounce Rate – this is a metric in Google Analytics. It is the percentage of people who visit your website but only look at one page before leaving.
  5. Conversion Rate – this is the percentage of people who convert into a sale or lead after visiting your website. You will often calculate conversion rate per advertising campaign, so you can measure return on investment.
  6. CPC – this stands for Cost Per Click. In PPC advertising, this is the average price you pay for each click on your ad.
  7. CPM – this stands for Cost Per Mille. Mille is the Latin word for thousand so it means cost per thousand. It is an alternative charging model to PPC. With CPM, you pay for every 1,000 views of your ad.
  8. CTA – this stands for Call To Action. It is a phrase on your website or ad that asks people to take the action you want them to. Examples include “Buy Now” or “Get Discount”.
  9. CTR – this stands for Click Through Rate. It is the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it.
  10. Email Marketing – this marketing strategy involves building a list of email subscribers and then sending periodic emails to them to promote your business, products, sales, or other events.
  11. Impression – this is the number of times your ad is viewed during an advertising campaign.
  12. Keyword – the phrases that people type into Google when doing a Google search. If you optimise your page and/or ad for the keywords that people use, you will be more likely to get clicks.
  13. Landing Page – the page that users click to from your ad. It is a crucial page for turning that user into a sale or lead.
  14. Long Tail Keyword – normal keywords are two to four words long. A long tail keyword is a phrase that people type into Google search that is longer than four words.
  15. Meta Description – when you look at a Google search results page, the two-line description of each website is the meta description. Optimising this for the relevant keyword can help with SEO.
  16. Organic Traffic – this is the traffic you get to your website that doesn’t come from ads. It can include non-paid traffic from Google, traffic from social media, etc.
  17. PPC – this stands for Pay Per Click. It is an online advertising model where you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. This means you don’t pay for ad views.
  18. Quality Score – Google AdWords works on an auction basis. That auction is based on the quality score of your ad plus your budget. A good quality score will normally mean a better position for your ad.
  19. Remarketing – this method of advertising involves displaying ads to people who have previously visited your website while they are browsing other sites on the internet.
  20. SEO – this stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It covers actions and strategies that optimise your website for Google and other search engines. The objective is to get your website higher up search results pages.
  21. SEM – this stands for Search Engine Marketing. It refers to paid advertising that promotes your website on search results pages. For example, AdWords would be part of an SEM strategy.
  22. SERP – this stands for Search Engine Results Page. It is the page Google displays to users after they search. It contains organic search results and can also contain paid results, local business results, videos, Google Shopping ads, and more.

Who can you believe and what can be measured with SEO?

Dealing with SEO in your business can be a minefield. You get everything from companies who bamboozle you with jargon without saying anything substantial through to unsolicited emails from SEO “experts” claiming they will get you to the top position in Google.

Who can you believe when it comes to SEO?

There are two steps to answering this question. The first is to understand what you can realistically expect from an SEO strategy and the second is how you can measure results to ensure you get what was promised.

So, if the SEO company you are talking to is not talking in plain language, walk away. If the SEO company you are talking to is promising something that is not realistic, you should also be cautious. You should walk away too if the SEO company is unwilling to use common methods of measuring results (or is unsure how).

What Can You Realistically Expect from SEO?

Nobody except a very small group of Google employees knows exactly how the Google search algorithm works. In addition, the algorithm changes constantly as Google works to improve user experience.

These facts alone make it impossible to promise specific results from an SEO strategy, but there is more. In particular, there is no way of knowing what your competitors will do. One of your competitors, for example, could start spending three-times your SEO budget at the same time as you start doing SEO. How good will a promise of the top spot in Google be in this situation? Not very good at all.

Therefore, what you should expect from an SEO strategy is a clearly outlined list of actions the SEO company will take to promote your website in a Google-friendly way. This can include actions they will take on your website, content they will produce, outreach efforts they will make, keywords they will target, etc.

When this is done correctly, you should see improvements on a number of key SEO measurements.

Key SEO Measurements

Below are four key measurements you should consider when analysing the success of your SEO strategy. You will need a baseline for all of them before you begin a new SEO strategy, though, so you have something to compare to. When taken together, they will give you a rounded view of the success of your campaign.

Keywords

  • The number of keywords where your website ranks on page one
  • Whether the position of your website is moving up or down for specific keywords
  • New keywords that your website ranks for

Website Traffic

  • Users – the number of people who visit your website
  • Sessions – the number of visits
  • Pageviews – the number of pages viewed

You should also check and compare the traffic you get specifically from search engines – Google Analytics gives you this information. You need to do this because an increase in traffic to your website might come from a source other than Google.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website after visiting only one page. This will give you an indication of the quality of traffic you are getting, i.e. is the SEO strategy targeting the right keywords to bring you the right traffic?

Goal Conversions

You should also set up conversion tracking on your website, so you can see the percentage of Google search visitors who convert into sales or leads.

As you can see from the above, SEO does not have to be overly complicated. So long as you have a consultant who is realistic about what can be achieved, and you measure the effectiveness of the strategy properly, your efforts should be a success.

Outsource or DIY – SEO step by step guide

So, should you outsource SEO in your business or should you go for the DIY option and try to do it in-house? We are asked this question frequently. After all, there are a huge number of blogs, guides, tip sheets and more on the internet so it is possible, theoretically, to do it yourself.

This could save you time. In addition, you may have heard stories about poor quality SEO consultants who don’t deliver or, worse, leave your website in a worse position than it was before.

The Building Metaphor

When thinking about the question of whether to outsource or go DIY, it can be helpful to think about building an extension to your house (providing you are not a builder or in the building trade). It is possible to do it yourself, particularly with all the instructional videos that are on YouTube. It will take up a lot of your time, however, plus it will simply take longer than if the project is completed by a professional.

In addition, the quality of the work will be to a lower standard than that done by a professional. You might even make mistakes that won’t become apparent for months or years after the build is complete. You might even make costly mistakes that you have to rectify immediately, such as mistakes that put you in breach of building regulations.

So, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. You might think it will save you money, but when you consider everything in the round, including the cost of your time, you will probably end up spending more.

What about avoiding the cowboy builder (i.e. the so-called SEO expert who doesn’t really have a clue what they are doing)? This shouldn’t prevent you from outsourcing either. Instead of going DIY, you should spend time making sure you get the right SEO provider – someone who is realistic, that delivers what they say they will, and who you can trust.

Reasons You Should Outsource SEO

To clarify the points above, here are the main reasons why you should outsource SEO in your business:

  • SEO changes fast – Google’s search algorithm changes all the time, as do industry best practices. When focusing on your own business, you simply won’t have time to keep up with these changes.
  • Requires specific expertise – SEO requires specific expertise, such as the production of high-quality content for your website and other locations. If you have the skills to produce this content you will be at an advantage, but not everybody does.
  • Requires consistency – often, businesses that take the DIY approach do SEO for a while before other business pressures take over. SEO then becomes less of a priority until a focus is put back on it again. Proper SEO requires consistent effort, however.
  • Easy to get wrong – like many elements of digital marketing, SEO is easy to get wrong. You might read and implement bad or outdated advice, for example. While you can do this in good faith, it can still lower your rankings in Google search and might even result in a penalty. A high-quality, professional SEO consultant will be aware of the pitfalls and risks so can avoid them.
  • Very complex – the tools and strategies used to deliver effective SEO are very complex. One example is Google Analytics. You might have a basic or average understanding of this tool, but you may not be aware of all it can do. An SEO consultant will, however, and will be able to use that knowledge to improve your SEO.

Doing DIY SEO definitely has its advantages but for most businesses, outsourcing is the better option.

Myth or a “Must Have” – is SEO really worth the investment?

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a topic that is often clouded in mystery. Part of the reason for this is the SEO industry itself with its over-reliance on jargon and unclear explanations. This, understandably, leads to business owners wondering if SEO is real or whether it is a myth. So, is SEO really worth the investment?

Let’s start answering this by looking at what Google says. Firstly, it doesn’t tell anyone how its search algorithm works, and it doesn’t give specific advice on SEO. Google does, however, give regular pointers on what it regards as important. Here are some examples:

  • Google hates spam. In fact, it has a whole department whose job it is to ensure websites don’t get to the top of search results pages using spamming techniques. Over the years, Google has punished websites that are thin on content, that use link farms (a method of faking interest in your website), or that deceive the user by pretending to Google it has one thing on the page but then presenting something different to the user.
  • Recently, Google has been very vocal about the importance it places on mobile-friendly websites. In fact, it now has a public policy of mobile first indexing where it prioritises the mobile version of your website.
  • Speed has always been important to Google and it repeatedly emphasizes that the pages on your website should load fast. It even provides a tool which checks the speed of your website and highlights areas for improvement.
  • Another thing Google often promotes is website structure and the importance of using recognised industry standards. This helps its algorithm – the computer programme behind Google search – understand what your website is about.
  • The most important thing that Google wants you to do with your website, however, is to maximise the user experience. In other words, it wants website owners to concentrate almost exclusively on delivering exactly what visitors want. When you do this, Google will recognise it so will know to rank your website highly.

So, what does all the above tell you? Even though it only represents a small portion of the information that Google makes available, it still demonstrates the necessity of SEO. Therefore, SEO is certainly not a myth.

Is SEO a Must-Have That’s Worth the Investment, Though?

While SEO is not a myth, whether it is a must have and whether it is worth the investment are two completely different questions. Let’s look at the first one initially – is SEO a must-have?

That depends on whether you want to get traffic from Google. After all, there are lots of other sources of traffic to your website. If those sources give you enough visitors, leads, and sales, then maybe you don’t need SEO.

If you want people to find you on Google, if you want to get more traffic from Google, and if you want better-targeted traffic from Google, SEO is a must-have.

Now for the second question – is it worth the investment? This comes down to who you use as your SEO consultant. Most importantly, you need a team who understand how Google works and who have a track record of success.

So long as you have this, you will get positive results that will be long-lasting. That means your website appearing on more search results pages and/or appearing higher up the ranking. When this happens, SEO is worth the investment so is something you should consider doing.

Tracking Your SEO – making progress or moving backwards?

Tracking your SEO efforts is just as important as doing SEO in the first place. After all, you need to make sure you continue making progress by increasing the traffic you get from Google. Similarly, it is essential you identify problems with SEO as soon as possible. You can also do this by tracking.

The most commonly used tool to track your SEO progress is Google Analytics. If you don’t currently have this setup, you should do so as soon as possible as it gives you invaluable information on the performance of your website.

Headline Statistics

The starting point with Google Analytics is to look at the main metrics for your website. To do this, go to Audience > Overview. You should do this on a monthly basis, measuring the difference between each month. It is also worthwhile to compare each month with the same month last year.

The four main metrics are:

  • Users – the total number of users who visited your website during the selected time period.
  • New users – the total number of users who visited your website during the selected time period who have not visited your website ever before.
  • Sessions – the total number of times users visited your website during the selected time period.
  • Pageviews – the number of pages users viewed on your website during the selected time period.

So, a user visiting your website three times during a month and accessing four pages per visit will add the following to your stats:

  • Users – 1
  • Sessions – 3
  • Pageviews – 12

These headline figures are important as they will tell whether overall traffic to your website is up or down. This doesn’t specifically tell you about traffic from search engines, however. You will find that information in another section of Google Analytics.

Acquisition Statistics

To find statistics on how people access your website, go to Acquisition > Overview. This will tell you the source of your website traffic, with one of the options being Organic Search, i.e. traffic from Google and other search engines.

Again, you should compare this figure with the previous month and with the same month in the previous year. It is also worthwhile to calculate your monthly average and then compare it to that average as well.

Drilling Down to Page Level

It is also often important to look at individual pages on your website. This could be pages created specifically for SEO purposes, for example. It can also be your main sales pages, i.e. the pages you want people to visit as often as possible.

To find this information, go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages. This gives you a list of all the pages on your website accessed during the specified time period. The default view orders the pages according to the number of pageviews, with the most popular pages at the top of the list.

To find the traffic level of a specific page, search for it using the search box just above the table.

Other SEO-Useful Metrics to Check

Google Analytics offers other metrics that are useful to SEO, so it is worthwhile regularly checking these too.

  • Bounce rate – go to Audience > Overview. Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website and only look at one page. Generally (although not always), Google prefers websites with low bounce rates.
  • Conversions – conversions tell you how many people complete a pre-defined action when visiting your website. Completing a form or purchasing a product are two examples. You will need to set up conversions before you can track this metric.
  • Site speed – got to Behaviour > Site Speed > Overview. Remember, Google likes websites that load fast, so the lower your page load times, the better.

It doesn’t take long to check the above in Google Analytics, but it will help your SEO.

Why do market leaders spend more on their AdWords than the competition?

The AdWords budgets of large companies – including the market leaders in your industry – are staggering. While you may spend hundreds or thousands a month, they may spend tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or more.

The simple reason why they do this is that AdWords delivers the results they need. In most cases, this is to generate new sales.

Of course, there is much more to it than this.

Going Deeper

AdWords research and analysis shows that big spenders on AdWords generate better results than those who spend less. As a result, you could probably double or triple your current AdWords budget and the big spenders will still do better than you.

Why? The big spenders on AdWords don’t look at the amount they spend as a cost to their business. Instead, they look at it as an investment which they want to make a return on. With so much money at stake, the big spenders do everything in their power to maximise this return.

So long as the return they achieve improves, and they have capacity in their business to deliver for their customers, they will continue to increase the amount of money they spend.

In other words, market leaders spend more on AdWords because it maximises the returns they achieve from their optimised campaigns.

What Can You Learn from This?

The biggest takeaway when looking at the market leaders and big spenders on AdWords is not what they spend, but how they spend it. In other words, how they optimise their campaigns.

The great thing is you can use exactly the same strategies the big players use to optimise your campaigns.

The Caveat

There is one caveat to this, however – your budget must already be at a sufficient level. If you only spend $100 a month on AdWords, for example, you will not have enough information to properly optimise your campaigns.

If you are serious about benefiting from AdWords, the first step is to increase your budget to a more realistic level

From there, you can start optimising your campaign to improve ROI.

Optimisation Tips

Here are five strategies market leaders and big AdWords spenders use to get maximum return from their campaigns.

  • Actively Monitor Campaigns – if you set and forget your AdWords campaigns, you will never be able to compete with the big spenders. To be successful, you must actively monitor, test, improve, and optimise.
  • Track Conversions – you also need to track conversions, i.e. linking a sale directly back to a click on an AdWords ad. Ideally, you should know the keyword, ad, and landing page that led to the sale.
  • Optimise for Conversions – clicks are worthless if they don’t lead to conversions, so everything you do should be aimed at maximising conversions. Remember, if you run ads to generate leads, you also need to track the number of sales you get from those leads.
  • Focus on Landing Pages – the market leaders on AdWords understand the importance of landing pages. Usually, they make them as specific as possible which can mean having separate landing pages per ad, keyword, offer, and more.
  • Use AdWords’ Tools – this includes Ad Extensions, negative keywords, Expanded Text Ads, and more.

In summary, market leaders spend more on AdWords because they know how it works and how to get results. You don’t have to copy what they spend, but you should replicate what they do.

What’s a sensible AdWords campaign going to cost?

One of the most frequent questions asked by clients considering using AdWords is what is a sensible campaign going to cost? You’ll not be surprised there is no definitive answer to this question – “how long is a piece of string” is often the phrase that comes to mind.

What about ballpark figures though? Generally, if you’re a small business you can expect to spend hundreds per month at a minimum. For a medium-sized business, expect to pay thousands at a minimum and even more for a large business.

They are very general numbers, however, as they don’t take into account your industry, what you sell, your competition, and many other things.

Let’s try, therefore, to work out a sensible AdWords budget for your business. There are lots of ways you can do this, but the following is an approach that will apply to a wide range of businesses.

Before you can work out a sensible budget, however, you need data. So, we’ve broken the following into two steps – before you have data and after. If you have sufficient data from previous AdWords campaigns, you can skip the next section. If you don’t, read on.

You Don’t Have Data

You need data from previous AdWords campaigns to calculate what advertising on the platform should cost you in the future. If you don’t have this data, you will need to get it as you need to start somewhere.

Specifically, you need about 150 clicks per month for a minimum period of three months. In addition, you must spend time optimising and improving your ads during those three months to get the best results you can. This will give you the data you need to work out your AdWords budget.

The cost of this will depend on the average CPC (Cost Per Click) of the keywords in your campaign. If the average CPC is $2, for example, this starting point will cost you about $300 per month.

You Do Have Data

Once you have data, you can work out a sensible budget for your future AdWords campaigns. You need three things:

  • Average CPC of your keywords
  • Average number of clicks per month
  • Conversion rate
  • Maximum conversions you can either achieve or handle per month

On the last point above, you will first need to look at Google’s predicted search volumes. You might want to get as many of those people as possible. Alternatively, your business might only be able to cope with a set number of sales per month, particularly if yours is a service business or the products you sell have limited availability.

So, let’s put some numbers on this by way of illustration.

  • Average CPC of your keywords – $3
  • Average number of clicks – 150
  • Conversion rate – 20%
  • Maximum conversions you can either achieve or handle – 120

So, the total cost of the above AdWords campaign is $3 x 150 clicks = $450.

This generates 30 sales (20% of 150).

Before you go further, you must make sure the campaign is profitable, i.e. are you making enough money on those 30 sales to cover the $450 cost of advertising on AdWords.

If you are, you can move to the next stage which is looking at maximum conversions – in this example, you want 120. This means you need four times the number of clicks which equates to four times the monthly AdWords cost, i.e. a sensible AdWords campaign in this scenario is going to cost $1,800 per month.

So, it’s time to get your calculator out – or get someone who can work these sums out for you.

Using AdWords – Business No-Brainer or a Waste of Money?

Is using AdWords a business no-brainer or a waste of money? As we are AdWords specialists, you might expect us to say it is a business no-brainer. The fact is, however, that we have seen many examples of AdWords campaigns that are a complete waste of money.

Rather than thinking about whether AdWords is a waste of money or an essential business tool, you should, instead, consider the differences between a successful AdWords campaign and one that isn’t.

The Fact is, AdWords Works

In 2017, Google’s revenues were 111 billion US dollars. The vast bulk of that – 94 billion US dollars – came from advertising, i.e. AdWords. So, when we say AdWords works, it certainly works for Google. That said, most of the companies and other organisations around the world who spent 94 billion US dollars on AdWords campaigns did so because it works for them too.

You’re probably reading this, though, because you have seen and heard horror stories about AdWords campaigns that don’t work. It is true – some people do waste money on AdWords. The trick is to avoid the mistakes these people make.

When you do this, your AdWords campaigns will be successful. In other words, you will generate new leads and sales as a direct result of ads running on Google’s network.

Of course, if you’re generating new leads and sales in a profitable way, AdWords is the very definition of a business no-brainer.

Avoiding the AdWords Money Wasting Pitfalls

Below are the top pitfalls to avoid so you can ensure your AdWords campaigns are successful:

Running Campaigns When You Don’t Know How AdWords Works

When you run an AdWords campaign, your ads are in competition with other ads targeting the same keywords. Unless you know how this auction works, you are likely to get beaten by those that do.

What does this mean? Firstly, you will pay more per click plus you will get fewer clicks than the competition.

Not Understanding Keywords and Negative Keywords

When you run an AdWords campaign, you shouldn’t simply select keywords that are related to your industry. Instead, you must identify keywords that will generate results for your business. This is normally keywords that have a buying intent.

In addition, you should use negative keywords to prevent clicks that won’t result in sales. Remember, your focus should be on ROI, not volume of clicks.

Failing to Research Your Competition

It is important you look at what the competition is doing too. Focus primarily on the four ads that appear at the top of search results pages for your chosen keywords. Can you identify anything with those campaigns that helps them win the top positions? How can you do better?

Not Having an Objective for the Campaign

You should also understand why you are running an AdWords campaign. For many people, this is to generate sales or leads, but these are not the only objectives you can have. Clearly defining your objective is important.

Being Unable to Measure Return on Investment

It is also important you have a way of measuring success. This means more than looking at how many clicks you got and how much those clicks cost you. You must also know the amount of revenue and profit those clicks generate so you can calculate ROI and properly determine the success of the campaign.

Failing to Optimise Every Element of an AdWords Campaign

Your AdWords campaign can cost you more than it should for several reasons. This includes poor keyword selection, poor negative keyword selection, incorrect bidding strategy, a badly written ad, an ineffective landing page, and more. To be successful, you need to optimise all these elements.

Not Getting Professional Help

As you can see, running a successful campaign is complicated. You can get results, though, when you have professional help. In fact, even when you add in the fees of a professional AdWords campaign manager, you will still get a better return on investment.

So, AdWords can be a no-brainer for your business, so long as you approach it correctly.

Is AdWords an investment or cost in your business?

Should you view AdWords as a business investment or cost? This is an important question as the way you approach AdWords will vary greatly depending on the answer.

When you compare AdWords with traditional forms of advertising such as billboards, direct mail, or printed media, it is a cost. After all, you probably view these other forms of advertising as a cost to your business. Why should AdWords be any different?

The fact is, you should view it differently.

The AdWords Difference

The difference with AdWords is the way you are charged. In particular, you only pay for AdWords when your campaign delivers a result. In most cases, that result is a user clicking on one of your ads to visit your website.

That in itself does not constitute an investment. It may be better than a magazine, for example, predicting how many people will view your ad. What you really need, however, is a direct connection between the ad and a resulting sale.

This is possible not as a direct result of using AdWords, but in how you set up the overall campaign. It is known as conversion tracking.

Conversion Tracking

The standard metrics you get from an AdWords campaign are:

  • CPC – Cost Per Click
  • CTR – Click Through Rate
  • Number of clicks
  • Total cost of campaign

In other words, you can see:

  • How many people potentially see your ad
  • How many people click on it
  • The average cost of those clicks
  • The total amount you spend

With conversion tracking, however, you will also know the number of sales you achieve as a direct result of a click on one of your AdWords ads. You can even get this information if the person doesn’t make the purchase immediately after the click.

Here’s an example to illustrate:

  • User does a search using a keyword you’ve targeted and sees your ad
  • The user clicks through to your website and views your landing page
  • The user is not ready to buy immediately so clicks away
  • Three days later the user returns to your website to complete the purchase

This scenario will count as a conversion for your AdWords campaign.

Focus on Returns

As a result of the above, you can focus all of your efforts when running AdWords campaigns on maximising returns. CPC, CTR, and number of clicks are all important, of course, but they are not as important as the returns you achieve.

Specifically, you will know the return achieved related to the amount you spent, i.e. Return on Investment (ROI).

So, when approached the right way, AdWords is clearly a business investment rather than a cost.

To make sure this applies in your business, here’s a recap on what you need to do:

  • Set up conversion tracking
  • Measure conversion rate
  • Analyse ROI

Benefits of this Approach

When AdWords becomes a business investment rather than a cost, you can start making changes so your campaigns reach their full potential. For example, you may be able to increase your budget to bring in more sales and profits, or you might be able to optimise your campaigns to maximise returns.

Generally, the best way to ensure AdWords is successful for your business is to ensure you view it as an investment. Get started today.

SEO – what every business owner needs to know

You have probably heard that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is something your business needs to do. What exactly is SEO, why is it important to your business, and what should you do about it? Here are the essentials that every business owner needs to know about SEO.

What Is SEO?

SEO involves taking steps to optimise your website to improve your ranking in Google.

In other words, you want your website to appear high up on search results pages whenever potential customers do searches for products or services you sell. SEO involves actions and strategies to help you achieve this.

How Search Engines Work

The first thing you should remember is that Google does not have to show your website on a search results page. You should also remember that Google’s priority is not your business.

Instead, Google only cares about the person doing the search. Therefore, its objective is to answer that person’s search query as quickly and as accurately as possible.

This is the most important concept to understand when it comes to SEO. There are lots of other factors to consider, of course, including keywords, page structures, content, etc. Understanding what is important to Google, however, is where you should start.

When you do, SEO starts to become much simpler, i.e. Google wants to answer a user’s search query as quickly and accurately as possible, so you should make sure your website does this.

Do You Really Need SEO?

If you want to keep and/or improve the traffic to your website that you get from Google, the simple answer is yes, you need SEO. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Google uses an algorithm to decide where your website appears on a search results page – in other words, everything about Google search is done by a computer programme. It is therefore important that Google’s search algorithm fully understands what your website is about and what you offer.
  • You have competition – if you want to appear in a higher position than your competitors in Google, you will need SEO.
  • Google has several specific standards – one of the things SEO should do is ensure your website meets Google’s standards. For example, lots of people now use Google search on mobile devices so it wants the mobile version of your website to be fully optimised. Page load speed is also important to Google as are things like unique content and user experience.

Of course, Google search is not the only way to get traffic to your website. You could, for example, use AdWords (paid search advertising) or social media. If you want Google search traffic, however, you will need to SEO your website.

Essential SEO Steps

  • Understand the keywords that are important to your website and optimise your website for them. Keywords are the phrases, queries, and terms that people type into Google when doing a search. Much of SEO involves keywords.
  • Your website needs a proper structure. This includes meta descriptions for every page, properly written page titles that include keywords, the use of header tags, and more.
  • Your website should be easy to use, and it should load fast.
  • Your website should work just as well on mobile as it does on a desktop computer.
  • Adding regular, fresh, and unique content to your website is important for SEO.

SEO requires a proper strategy and effective implementation to get right. When you do so, however, you will get more traffic from Google. Crucially, the benefits of SEO are long-lasting.

AdWords longtail – The hidden goldmine in a winning campaign

One of the crucial parts of setting up an AdWords campaign is selecting keywords to target. In fact, keywords are the most important targeting option you have, alongside geographical targeting, of course.

Too many people are tempted by short keywords, however, including single-word keywords. The temptation exists because of the search volumes that short keywords generate.

In reality, though, using longtail keywords in your AdWords Campaign is often the secret to success.

What Are Longtail Keywords?

In simple terms, longtail keywords are phrases of four or more words. For some campaigns, three-word keywords might also qualify as being a longtail keyword.

This means longtail keywords represent the detailed and highly specific searches that people do on Google. Take a look at these keyword examples:

  • “hotels”
  • “hotels in Auckland”
  • “family hotels in Auckland north shore”

The first option will have the highest search volume, but if you are a hotel on Auckland’s North Shore catering to families, you will get better results from an AdWords campaign that targets the final keyword in the list above – the longtail keyword.

This is because the person searching is close to a buying decision, i.e. they know exactly what they want and are now looking for options to book. It is also easier for you to tailor your AdWords ad and landing page to this keyword.

Benefits of Using Longtail Keywords in Your AdWords Campaign

  • Better CTR (click through rate) – even though the search volumes of longtail keywords are lower than shorter search phrases, the CTR is usually better. The main reason for this is the keyword is better targeted to the user, so your ad is likely to be more relevant to them. Remember as well that a high CTR will help with your campaign too, including, potentially, reducing the Cost Per Click (CPC).
  • Targets people closer to making a buying decision – with longtail keywords, you can target people who are searching in Google with buying intent, rather than spending your money on clicks from people who are simply researching or who are in the very early stages of the buying cycle.
  • More optimised landing pages – with longtail keywords, you can tailor your landing pages to make them more relevant to the people clicking through. As you know, landing pages are a crucial element to creating a successful AdWords campaign. You need to optimise them as much as possible which is much easier to do with longtail keywords.
  • Better conversion rate – as the audience you will reach with longtail keywords is more targeted, it is more likely you will convert a higher percentage of them.
  • Less competition – most longtail keywords also have lower rates of competition which means the CPC is lower than other keywords.
  • Better CPA (cost per acquisition) – following on from the previous two points, CPA will improve with longtail keywords. After all, shorter phrases will cost you more per click, and you will convert fewer of those clicks into sales. With longtail keywords, you will convert more plus the money you must pay for the click in the first place is lower.

So, when creating a new AdWords campaign, don’t focus on high search volumes. Instead, think about things like CTR, CPC, and CPA. When you do, longtail keywords become much more attractive.

After all, which of the following would you prefer: targeting your ads at the right people and converting a high percentage, or displaying your ad to loads of people who are not really interested or not ready to buy?

The first option is much better, which means using longtail keywords.

Here’s why Google AdWords will work for your business

When you do a search on Google for a product, brand, or service, you will see ads on the search results page. Why are they there? Companies run those ads because Google’s advertising platform, AdWords, works. It works for their business, and it can work for yours too.

To understand this further, here are the main reasons why Google AdWords will work for your business.

Generates New Leads and Customers

AdWords is an active advertising tool that is about getting conversions. In other words, it will get you leads and customers. Of course, you need to set up your campaigns properly, but you’ll get tangible results when you do.

You Control the Amount You Spend

AdWords gives you a lot of settings to use when creating a campaign. One of the most important is the amount you wish to spend over a set period of time. This gives you complete control.

Cost-Effective

Regardless of how much you spend, AdWords is a cost-effective advertising tool. That doesn’t mean it is the cheapest, as you will probably already know of methods of advertising that are cheaper. When you combine the results and the amount you spend, however, AdWords is a very cost-effective platform.

You Can Start Small

The minimum spend on AdWords is very low which means you can get started with AdWords ads at minimal cost. This makes it possible to test what works and what doesn’t, learn more about the market, and more.

Fast Results

One of the main benefits of AdWords is the immediacy of the results it delivers. In fact, your ads can start running within hours of you launching a campaign, with results coming in right away.

Highly Targeted

Unlike other forms of advertising, AdWords gives you extremely powerful targeting tools. These tools go much further than targeting people based on geographical area or interest. Instead, you also target people based on the keywords they search for on Google. In other words, you can target people who are ready to make a purchase simply by selecting the right keywords.

You Only Pay When People Click Through to Your Website

Another advantage of AdWords is you don’t pay to display your ads on a Google search results page. Instead, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Of course, a click doesn’t mean the person will go on to become a customer. That said, there is a much closer correlation between the money you pay and the results you get with AdWords than most other forms of advertising.

Easy to Measure Return on Investment

You can quickly setup tracking on your AdWords campaigns enabling you to directly link sales and leads in your business to clicks and spend on AdWords. This makes it possible to measure the ROI of your AdWords’ campaigns.

You Can Test, Refine, and Improve

It is also possible to test all elements of your campaign, so you can make improvements. This includes split testing where you can test different keywords, negative keywords, ad headlines, ad text, landing pages, and more.

Gets Your Brand and Products in Front of People at the Right Time

Understanding user intent is important to making AdWords campaigns work. When you do, you can select keywords that have buying intent to include in your campaigns. This ensures you target people at the right time, i.e. when they are ready or almost ready to buy.

Learn More About Your Customers

The knowledge you get from running AdWords campaigns, including the results you achieve, will give you new information about your customers. You can then use that information to improve your other marketing initiatives and your business overall.

AdWords is a platform that can get you sales. If you don’t use it yet, you should consider doing so now.

Are you getting the best bang for your advertising buck?

To grow your business and find new customers, you must advertise. Many businesses must also advertise to keep their existing customers, particularly when in highly competitive markets. Not all advertising is the same, however, so how can you be sure you are getting the best bang for your advertising buck?

To answer this question, you need to make sure the following applies to your advertising spend:

  • You target your ads at the right audience
  • Your ads reach the customer at the right time
  • You have a way of accurately measuring the return on investment of each campaign
  • There are steps you can take to optimise that return on investment

The above is not rocket science. After all, you don’t want to spend money advertising to people who have no interest in what you sell or who have already made a purchase. Also, you need to make sure the money you spend on advertising is delivering a return that is high enough to justify that investment.

The problem is there are not many advertising options available to you that deliver on the above list. If you advertise on TV or radio, for example, none of the four points above apply.

There are solutions, though, with the best being AdWords. With AdWords you can:

  • Target a specific audience
  • Target that audience when they are in a purchasing frame of mind
  • Precisely measure return on investment
  • Optimise future campaigns to get better returns

Are You Getting the Best Bang for Your AdWords Buck?

If you do run campaigns on AdWords, the next question to consider is are you getting the best possible results for the amount you spend? Could you spend less and get the same results? Could you spend the same amount while getting better results?

These things are important to think about as, on the surface, AdWords is an advertising tool that anyone can use. You simply need to set up an account and then work your way through the guided process to launch an ad.

If you have any experience with AdWords, you will know the reality of running AdWords campaigns is not as simple as described above. In fact, it is easy to completely waste money on AdWords, and many businesses have.

Optimising AdWords Campaigns

The only way to ensure you are getting the best possible results from your AdWords campaigns is to optimise them. This is an ongoing process of testing, refining, and tweaking every element of an AdWords campaign including:

  • Keywords
  • Negative keywords
  • Bid amounts
  • Bid strategies
  • Geographic targeting
  • Ad headline
  • Ad text
  • Ad display URL
  • Landing page targeting
  • Landing page design
  • Landing page headlines
  • Landing page content
  • Landing page call-to-action

All these things and more can impact the performance of your AdWords campaign. The objectives you should have include:

  • Reducing the cost-per-click to as low a rate as possible
  • Ensuring clicks come from the right audience so you waste as little as possible on clicks that won’t convert
  • Maximising conversions

Conclusion

To ensure you get the best bang for your advertising buck, you should start by considering AdWords as an advertising strategy. If you already use AdWords, you should take steps to ensure your campaigns are as optimised as possible. This will keep more money in your pocket while still generating new customers and sales for your business.

wordpress Webbsite

5 reasons, why a website build on WordPress is good for your Business.

WordPress has become more synonyms to web development environment than ever before, many business owners like to have a professional website for their brand and companies build in WordPress. The reason for this is not one but many, the most important being that it’s the most popular content management system that exists to date.

Adapted by millions of users around the world for developing search engine friendly blogs, websites and complex applications, WordPress has become the most famous web development framework that allows easy modification, updates, and customization on the fly.

WordPress is a most common framework amount many a Web Designing Service providers in Auckland. For the sack of writing this article, we will be discussing 5 most essential feature of wordpress that makes it the No.1 CMS today.

5 Good Reasons to Choose WordPress -Whether you are a web design company or a business owner.

Unlimited Themes

The beauty of wordpress development is that you have thousands of themes to choose from, whether you in a hospitality industry, automobile, education or perhaps a web designing service you will never run out of designs and themes.

Thanks to tens of thousands of designers and developers who are publishing wordpress themes every day. These themes are built on standard coding standards and are tested for any bugs or design issues. So when you are using a theme you can be sure of its quality and speed. There are many marketplaces on the web which sells wordpress themes of all types for very minimal cost and also provides support.

Unlimited Plugins

Another hot selling feature of wordpress websites is it’s extendible functionality addons called plugins. These plugins are build by professional coders to provide an extra functionality to the website that can otherwise cost hugely if build by a dedicated coder. The plugins are extremely helpful especially when you need customized functionality such as room booking, service booking etc.

You May Also like:  Modifications for eCommerce Website to Boost Conversions 

A good Web Design Company will however, use plugins just when its most needed, otherwise they will have to add functionality using php code, this is done to save load time. As using many plugins on a single website can adversely affect its load time. The last thing you will want is your website loading time being more than usual.

Easy to updated content

Since WordPress is popular for being the best content management system what it really means is that you don’t need a web design company to update content for you when you need it. Once its up and running, wordpress website allows different user roles to write, publish and approve content when it’s needed. All you have to do is to edit the content and publish it just like you would have an article published on LinkedIn.

Search Engine Loves It

WordPress was first introduced for bloggers so they can have there blogs published in no time and in the easiest way. Since blogs are the most favorite hangout spots for search engines, for the obvious reason that most useful information resides here. Using wordpress has a huge advantage for the reason that search engines especially Google, holds a soft spot for it due to its SEO friendly structure and good user experience.

A Budding Community

A good web designing service always recommends WordPress websites to its customers. Not only it has a huge end-user base but the wordpress development community itself is huge. The wordpress community exists to create, collaborate and help resolve issues in a collaborative environment. So when a web design company tells you “Don’t take my word for it” they mean to say there are thousands of wordpress gurus who are actively adding new things to wordpress, to make it more robust and secure content management system.

5 Modifications you can do on your eCommerce Website to Boost Conversion

There are many ways to leverage your website conversion rate to the point that it will generate more leads, but when it comes to an eCommerce site the science is a bit different. There are many factors that affect sales of an eCommerce site hence affecting the conversion rate directly. There are many Kiwi online stores who have had a good conversion rate achieved for them by Website Design Auckland.

People often ask for the magical ingredient to win on the eCommerce conversion game. While the strategy may vary from one eCommerce website to another, but highlighted below are some handpicked ux components that can very well boost conversion of any given eCommerce site.

eCommerce Website Design Auckland;
5 Essential UX Components to take care of

Light-Weight & Good Quality Product Images

Product images play a key role in any eCommerce website. A good quality product image is of paramount importance to an eCommerce website. A survey carried out by Web Design Company Auckland tells the same story, a pet store selling pet accessories is a good selling online store only if the pictures of the accessories are of good quality, lightweight and in different perspectives.

A good product image, according to some of the https://businesswebsitegroup.co.nz/best Auckland web designers, is the one that is high on quality and low on memory. Due to the advancement in mobile technologies, websites are now built with keeping the mobile and tablet users first in mind. The lower the memory space images take on mobile the better conversion rate for the website. On the other hand good better quality product images lead to better traffic and user experience.

Content is King

Most visitors are concerned with the product feature and detail descriptions. People want to make sure they buy the right product for the right money. One of the beauties of online shopping is that you get a whole lot information before you buy a certain product. If your product information is inadequate you are most probably losing on a great deal of conversion. A good product information has all the details that can answer all the possible queries that can come in the mind of an average customer. Giving proper headings for features, qualities, comparison points and other selling points in proper placement and usage can make a good content for boosting your sales.

FAQ section is another way to answer the customer’s common queries. A good FAQ can be very useful in turning visitors into customers. Check out some good examples for a good quality content in Web Design Company Auckland website.

Promotional Videos

Gone are the days when only images would be the only media found on an eCommerce website. In today’s world where facebook and youtube videos are making a great deal of impact on users and creating a whole new experience for both consumers and marketers alike. We are seeing more and more product promotional and explanatory videos to complement the product images.

Product videos have become a very useful addition to the user experience of a website. As many buyers would like to see things in action and see how it works before they buy them. Web Design Company Auckland showcases few good examples in the portfolio that exhibits videos as for product promotion.

Customization sells like hot cakes

If there is anything that consumers like the most while buying products online; it’s personalization. From cars and houses to purse and phone cases people want to see if a product has enough customization options available. According to a survey by some of the best Auckland web designers, women shoppers tend to look for customizable products more than men do.

Design to fit all device types

The digital revolution has brought online experience to handheld and wrist wears. More and more people are browsing websites on mobile devices than ever before. Website load times, images resolution and template models are redefined to create a seamless user experience for mobile and tablet devices.

creative-trends-2018

A quick guide to the creative trends for 2018

The year 2018 is here and many marketers and business owners are already embarking on new journeys to target their audience. For some, it will be adapting to new market trends to dominate social media. For others it will be using data to gain insight into the customers buying pattern.

No matter the size of your company, you will always need to stay up to date with marketing and design trends. Knowing the latest marketing and design trends can make a huge difference, exposing new leads and converting clicks into customers.

Keeping on top of design and marketing trends involves a lot of research. But thanks to Shutterstock , you can be saved from this time consuming job. With a portfolio of more than 160 million stock images, Shutterstock is a leading online resource for designers and marketers. It analyses user search data and patterns , in order to report upon meaningful trends. Based on these reports, the stock images giant confirmed some concepts that are most likely to influence marketers this year.

Here is a sneak peek at some of the most influential creative trends for 2018.

Fantasy

The world of imagination has been influential for the last few years, including Hollywood blockbusters like “Game of Thrones” and “Harry Potter”, or the recently announced “Lord of the Rings Sequel”. Mythical beasts and places have become part of our unconscious memories. We seem to relate to them, finding ourselves fascinated by their fantasy characters. Mythical characters such as unicorns and mermaids are getting the most search hits, increased by up to 297% and 145% respectively.

Owing to the growing popularity of the fantasy genre, marketers and creatives have taken to new ways of adding supernatural ambience to our day-to-day life.

New Minimalism

The creative trend that was founded in 1960’s-70’s is evolving and taking a new form; thus making ways for artists and visualizers to explore a whole new world of New Minimalism. New minimalism goes beyond crisp and clean lines to make way for bolder, vibrant colours and fluid forms to redefine this extremely popular art genre.

Concentrated colours, mixed texture, neon lights and lines have been on top of the search results. Continuous lines have been the most popular technique in New Minimalism with a staggering 432% increase in search. Creatives and marketers are exploring new ways to engage their audience, by using continuous lines, neon lights, added textures and concentrated colour in their artwork – to
make bold statements.

Space

The search for interstellar objects has dramatically increased in the creative and marketing community. We have had many box office successes with Star Wars, Star Trek, Interstellar and Passengers, to name a few. These movies and NASA’s space exploration program have added a renewed interest in space, also affecting creative and marketing trends. A staggering 991% increase in search queries for the word “solar” emphasis it’s growing popularity.

Lux Nature

Natural elements are getting more focus from creative directors. Marble texture and natural patterns are increasingly popular in our design trends. Marble stones are at the centre of the search for nature with a 416% increase in searches. With a 275% increase in search results, the agate stone is a close runner-up. One may be wondering why the sudden obsession for these geological themes? One reason that critics explain, is that the mythical textures on the marble stones are storytellers of the past ages. They hold secrets of many thousand years past. (I think they just look great!)

Punchy Pastels

Marshmallow and candy are becoming more of an inspirational object then just sweets for the taste buds. These colours have invented a new genre in creative arts, also referred to as Punchy Pastels. User Interface Designers, relying heavily on Google design trends, have been playful lately by making interfaces that invoke fun and are sweet on the eyes. Blue candy has gained 609% growth in popularity, according to Shutterstock analytics. Here at Business Website Group, we take the hard work out of staying up to date with marketing trends. Feel free to get in touch to have a chat or find out more.

Richard Gilbert

Founder

If Your Website Is Missing These 5 Things, You Could Be Losing Customers

Your website should be about more than creating an attractive introduction to your business. It is also more than being a simple tool to explain what you do and who you are. Instead, your website should actively help generate sales for your business.

This applies whatever industry you are in. It also applies whatever type of website you have, including if your website is a straightforward brochure-type site.

There are essential elements you need to have on your website, however, to ensure you get as many customers from it as possible. Here are five of the most important.

1. Contact Number on Every Page

Visitors to your website should be able to find your contact telephone number within a few seconds, whatever page they are on. Therefore, it’s important you don’t just put your contact details on your contact page. You should still have a contact page, of course, with full contact details. Your contact number, however, should appear on every page.

Good places to add this are in the footer or, ideally, the header. If it’s in the header, visitors will see it without having to scroll.

2. Calls to Action

It is also essential you tell visitors to your website what you want them to do. If you don’t, they will probably leave to continue their search elsewhere. Do you know what happens then? In many cases, visitors will arrive at another website that does have a call to action and they will become a customer of that business.

Calls to action explain to the customer what they should do next, plus they encourage the user to take immediate action.

3. Responsive Design

If your website does not have a responsive design, it will not be shown on Google searches where the searcher uses a mobile device. So, to ensure your website appears in as many Google search results as possible, you need a responsive design.

Responsive design ensures your website displays properly on any size screen and on any device. In other words, making your website responsive also improves the user experience. This will help you get more customers to take a positive action when they visit, i.e. phone your business or send you an enquiry.

4. Testimonials

One of the main jobs your website should perform is to build trust with the visitor. You can do this by demonstrating you understand what they are looking for and that you have a viable solution. This is normally achieved through the content on your website. It is also important you show you are credible.

Social proof is essential too, as nobody wants to be the first to buy or try something. Instead, they want to learn about the experience of others to give them confidence in your brand. You can do this by including testimonials on your website.

5. Contact Form

The main purpose of adding a contact form to your website is to make it as easy as possible for visitors to contact you. You should include other contact options as well, but make sure you also have a contact form.

Your objective should be to maximise the potential of each person who visits your website, i.e. taking steps to encourage them to become a customer or make an enquiry. The five tips above will help substantially in achieving this objective.

8 Places You Should be Promoting Your Website

You have a nice, shiny new website – now what? In many respects, building a new website is only the start of your digital marketing journey. It is an essential part of the journey as it presents your brand and explains to potential customers what you do and why they should choose you. Now you must get your website in front of those potential customers, and that means promoting it.

This won’t happen on its own, so you will need to take action. Here are nine places you should be promoting your website.

  1. Marketing and Business Material

    Start with things like your business letterheads, business cards, brochures, print advertising, and other marketing and business materials. You should include your website in all these locations.

  2. Business Communications

    Your email signature is also incredibly important. You should edit or set up a signature so everyone who receives an email from you sees your website address.

  3. Google Search

    Getting traffic from Google search is known as SEO and it’s a huge topic – too big for this article. The starting point is to ensure your website has a good SEO structure. You then need to set it up on Google Webmaster Tools. You might need help with this, but Webmaster Tools is essentially a tool from Google that lets you see how the search giant views your website in relation to its search pages.

    It lets you upload a sitemap to give Google a better understanding of what is on your website and how it links together. You can also monitor Webmaster Tools to see if Google finds any errors when it crawls your website. Doing these things will get you started with SEO.

  4. Social Media

    You can promote your website both on your personal social media accounts and your business accounts. If you don’t have business accounts yet, you should consider setting them up on the social media platforms that are most relevant to your business. This could be Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or any other social media platform your customers use. Once you have the accounts, you need to build your audience before you can effectively promote your website.

  5. Google My Business

    Google My Business is another tool from Google that gives you some control over how Google displays details about your business. It is particularly beneficial for local businesses, but all businesses can benefit. With Google My Business, you can add photos, opening hours, telephone numbers, and more. Google can then display this information on search results pages, Google Maps, and more.

  6. Google AdWords

    This is Google’s PPC (pay per click) advertising platform. It gives you the opportunity to pay for inclusion in Google’s search results pages for your selected keywords. Anyone can set up a Google AdWords campaign, although you will probably need help from an expert to ensure it is optimised.

  7. Facebook Ads

    Facebook is the largest social media platform in New Zealand and in most other countries around the world. It is, therefore, another platform you can use to promote your website. The targeting options that Facebook offers are very effective, plus it can be cost-effective compared to other forms of advertising.

  8. Email Marketing

    If you have a list of email addresses that you use to send marketing messages too, you can also use this to promote your website. If you don’t have a list yet, you should start the process of creating one as email marketing is an effective digital marketing strategy. You can collect email addresses of subscribers through Facebook and your website.

    All the above options are effective, although you may need professional assistance with many of them. They will all get visitors to your website, though.

Making the Best Use of Images on Your Website

Your website needs images – there is no getting away from that fact. Images make your website look better and they enhance the user experience. The latter point is incredibly important to the success of your website. Finding the right images is not always easy, though.

You basically have two options:

  1. Use images you have taken
  2. Use stock images

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each, and which should you use?

Images You Have Taken

In an ideal world, this is the best option as it adds personality and authenticity to your website. The main disadvantage is quality. Unless the images are high-quality, you may lose the benefits that come from using images you have taken.

It is important, therefore, to spend some time researching tips on how to take good photos. You don’t need to become a photography expert, and you don’t need any special equipment. The camera on your phone will be sufficient and you will probably have filters on your phone you can use to sharpen and enhance the images. Best of all, you can do this without any technical expertise.

The things you need to think about include lighting and how to frame the image. Make sure any people in your images are smiling, and think about things like backgrounds. For example, do the desks in the background of your photo look untidy?

Using your own images will enhance your website if you can get these quality issues right. You can add branding, for example, by including a sign with your company name and logo in the background or by getting staff to wear branded clothing. Using your own staff in images also makes the website more personal and engaging.

Stock Images

Stock images offer three benefits:

  1. They are easy to find – whatever your industry, your developer will be able to find suitable stock images for your website.
  2. They are quick to find – taking photos yourself can be time-consuming, particularly if you do it right. You can find stock images, on the other hand, in minutes.
  3. They are high-quality – almost all stock images are taken by professional and/or experienced photographers. As a result, you can expect them to be high-quality.

What You Should Do

So, should you spend the time and effort getting your own images or should you use stock images? For most businesses and websites, the solution is a hybrid one, i.e. you use some of your own images with the rest being stock images. This gives you the best of both worlds and minimises their disadvantages.

Importantly, you should try to include at least some of your own images on the website, even if you are primarily using stock images. Without your own images, your website risks looking just like all the other websites out there, even if you have a fantastic designer.

In summary, images do not have to be something that holds up the production or launch of your new website as stock images are so readily available. It is important to include your own images on the site too, though, to make it unique and more authentic.

Why Every Business Needs a Website

There used to be a time when marketing and business experts would have considered a website as being optional for some businesses. Not anymore. In today’s always connected world, every business needs a website, including small businesses and local businesses.

Here are 9 reasons why your business needs a website.

  1. Customers Expect You to Have a Website
    Your customers expect to be able to quickly find information they need about your business, products, or services by turning to the internet. This is best delivered on a website, even if you have a good social media presence. Your website doesn’t have to be big or complex, but you should have one.
  2. Potential Customers Use the Internet to Search for Your Products or Services
    People use the internet today like they used to use the phone book, i.e. when searching for a product or service they, they use Google. This includes local services such as locksmith or plumbing services. If you don’t have a website, the likelihood of these potential customers finding you is greatly reduced. Instead, they will go to one of your competitors that does have a website.
  3. A Website Brings Leads and Customers to Your Business
    Not only will a website let potential customers find information about you, it will also give you an opportunity to turn those visitors into a lead or customer for your business. Remember again that this applies even if you are already strong on social media. This is because your social media profile is unlikely to appear in a search result. If you want leads and customers from search (and who doesn’t) you need a website.
  4. Makes You Available 24/7
    A website never closes and it never sleeps so customers can find information about you and can even contact you via forms any day of the week and at any time of the day or night.
  5. Presents a More Professional Image
    A website also gives your business legitimacy. This goes back to the first point that customers expect you to have a website. If you don’t, they will have questions about your professionalism so might choose one of your competitors instead.
  6. Demonstrates Your Experience and Authority
    A website also gives you an opportunity to showcase what you are capable of. Examples of this include writing blog articles, offering case studies, or publishing testimonials. All these things enhance the image of your brand and build trust with potential customers.
  7. Allows You to Target a Wider Audience
    If you choose, you can reach a global audience with your website or simply a wider audience closer to home. In other words, a website lets you expand into new markets.
  8. Gives You an Opportunity to Personalise Your Brand
    You are in control of the content on your website so you can present the right image about your brand to visitors. For example, you can provide reassurance if you provide professional services or show off your fun side on a blog if you offer more light-hearted products.
  9. Delivers Good Return on Investment
    A website is an inexpensive marketing tool that will deliver long-term results for your business. You will get value in terms of brand recognition and customer services, but it also helps you increase revenue.

Finally, a website is not difficult to get and can be up-and-running quickly with minimal effort from you. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to get one.

What Should I Use for My Marketing: SEO, AdWords, or Both?

Your website should deliver increased sales for your business. SEO and AdWords are both strategies that can help you achieve this. Which is best, however? Should you use both? Here is a comparison of what you can expect from both strategies.

Speed

  • AdWords – you can launch an AdWords campaign in less than a day, generating immediate results.
  • SEO – SEO is more of a slow build that delivers results over time.

Cost

  • AdWords – as AdWords is a PPC (pay per click) form of advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Also, you can control the amount of money you spend on a daily basis.
  • SEO – if you use an SEO service, there is usually an initial fee and then an ongoing, lower fee to help keep your website as high as possible in search engine rankings. In many cases, SEO costs more initially but over time it becomes the cheaper of the two options.

ROI

  • AdWords – AdWords delivers immediate results so you can determine ROI very quickly. This is because you will know how much you spend, the number of leads generated, and the number of sales you make. Assuming you have optimised your campaign, you must continue spending at the same level to continue getting results.
  • SEO – the results you get from SEO will take longer to come in so the ROI will not be as good initially. SEO actions you take now, however, deliver long-term results. This means the returns you get on an SEO investment will overtake the ROI you get from AdWords.

Competition

  • AdWords – to compete in a strong AdWords market you must laser target your campaigns and, in most cases, increase your budget per click. This will reduce ROI.
  • SEO – dealing with strong competition is a challenge for SEO too, but there are options. Specifically, you can target local searches and long-tail keywords.

Beating the Competition

      • AdWords – it can be easy for your competitors to create a more optimised AdWords campaign or to increase the budget they are prepared to spend. This can result in a competitor’s ad appearing in a better position than yours overnight.
      • SEO – the fact SEO takes time to have an effect can work to your advantage. Specifically, if you have a good position in a search results page for a crucial keyword, it will be hard for your competitors to dislodge you so long as you maintain SEO good practice.

Targeting

      • AdWords – you have a lot of targeting options available when running an AdWords campaign. This includes targeting by interest, targeting people that have previously visited your website, targeting people on your email list, and targeting lookalike audiences.
      • SEO – your targeting options are more limited with SEO. The main option you have is to focus your efforts on particular keywords. For example, focusing on keywords with buying intent, not just keywords related to your industry.

Algorithm Updates

      • AdWords – AdWords can change the way it works but those changes are rarely disruptive.
      • SEO – with SEO, you are at the mercy of Google’s search algorithm. When Google changes this algorithm, the position of your website could go up or down.

Search Results Page Position

      • AdWords – Google puts up to four ads at the top of a search results page, ahead of the organic results. This is the most visible position on the page.
      • SEO – even when you get to position one in the organic search results, AdWords’ ads will appear before you.

Credibility and Branding

      • AdWords – AdWords can have a positive effect on brand awareness, but it’s not as good as SEO.
      • SEO – SEO is excellent at increasing the awareness of your brand. In addition, many people scroll past ads to get to the organic search results. You will enhance the credibility of your brand if you have a high organic position on the page.

Integrated Approach

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both SEO and AdWords. For many businesses, it is not a decision of one or the other. Instead, they use both strategies, allocating part of their budget to each. This means you get the immediate benefits that PPC offers and the long-term benefits of SEO.

An integrated approach is often the best way to maximise traffic, leads, and conversions.

Getting a Website Built in WordPress Vs a Website Builder

You’ve probably seen ads on the TV or online encouraging you to build your website using a free website builder. Those ads tell you how cheap and easy it is to launch a website and that you don’t need any technical expertise. Why, then, do website designers advise you to use WordPress?

It is technically possible to create and launch a website using a proprietary website builder like Wix or Weebly. Doing so, however, limits your options plus there is little flexibility and the result won’t look professional.

Here are some of the main differences between using WordPress or using a proprietary website builder.

Features

Proprietary website builders have apps, add-ons, and plugins, but nowhere close to as many as WordPress has.

In addition, as WordPress is open source, your designer can code your website to do almost anything you want, even if no suitable plugin exists. In other words, they can create a new plugin, customise an existing plugin, or use other techniques to give you the functionality you require. This is not possible on platforms like Wix or Weebly.

Design

There are 100s of templates to choose from on proprietary website builders including, on some platforms, high-quality premium templates. It is also possible to do some limited customisations on these templates.

However, there are 1,000s of templates available on WordPress, both free and premium. In addition, your website designer will be able to customise your template any way you want.

Ease of Use

It is harder to create a website with WordPress. This is because you must customise templates, add and customise plugins, organise hosting, and more. Of course, the result is a much more powerful website, but some technical expertise is required to get there.

That said, adding content to a WordPress website is just as easy as adding content to a website builder like Wix or Weebly.

What does this mean in practice? When you use a professional website designer, you won’t have to worry about the complexity of setting up a website in WordPress as your designer will already have the necessary skills. Plus, as has been already said, you will get a much better result and you will benefit from how easy it is to add content to WordPress.

Flexibility

One of the reasons proprietary website builders are so easy to use is they severely restrict flexibility. Some are more flexible today than they used to be, but they are nowhere near as flexible as WordPress. Here are some examples of the differences in flexibility:

  • It’s easier to change the design of a WordPress website – you just change the theme.
  • You have greater flexibility in the features you can add to a WordPress website as well as how those features look and work.
  • There is greater control over how to set up and run an eCommerce store built in WordPress. For example, Wix offers limited payment processor options whereas you can choose whatever payment platform you want with WordPress.
  • You are locked-in when you use a website builder. This means you usually have to start again if you want to move to a new platform. This is not the case with WordPress.

eCommerce

Most propriety website builders will offer some eCommerce functionality, although sometimes there are additional charges. That functionality is usually only suitable for small operations and, as has already been mentioned, there is not much flexibility.

With WordPress, however, you can create any type of eCommerce website you need adding whatever functionality you want.

Which Should You Choose?

Your website is more than a shop window for your brand. Instead, it is a powerful tool that, when used right, will generate leads, win new customers, and increase the profitability of your business. It is, therefore, important you invest properly in getting a professional website. That means using a website designer and building the website in WordPress. When you do this, your website will deliver long-term results for your business.