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Category: Web Design

Marketing Articles: Page 2

Interactive Maps and Content Personalisation

Two great presentations at last weeks Cheltenham WordPress Meetup. Here are some of the notes I took away.

Building interactive maps in leaflet.js

  • Lucy Sloss (@lucysloss) from Studio Mothership
  • Leaflet.js – an open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps
  • Has a WordPress plugin (of course)
  • Can choose your own tile set such as Google, Map box (also higher customisable), Open Street maps or custom image tiles
  • Create own markers and pop ups content
  • Works with GEOJSON map format for importing multiple locations

Content personalisation

  • Paul Lacey (@wp_paullacey) from Dickie birds
  • Content personalisation – website content that changes based on the unique things it knows about the user
  • Personalising experiences – Just like walking into a coffee shop when they know your name and how you like your coffee.
  • Can be creepy. So respect a website users personal space
  • Mutually beneficial conversion – Use personalisation where it will help you user find information or do something more quickly
  • Personalisation plug-ins – logichop.com (cheapest) and if-so.com
  • Logichop has Gutenberg integration

Also discussed in the pub after the meetup was wordsesh.com a virtual conference all about WordPress via @Just2Ronald

Guide to managing your WordPress website

Advice and guidance on how to maintain, develop and drive more traffic to your WordPress website.

Save tears and backup your site before making any changes. If you don’t feel confident about making any of the recommended changes yourself, consult with your web developer, techie friends or get in touch, we’d be happy help.

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49: Ben Wheeler, Changing state of websites in marketing

Watch on YouTube Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Android.


Ben discusses with Ben Wheeler the role of websites in current marketing, diminishing in favour of social business pages.

The sponsor for this episode is 34SP. A Fast, Secure and Managed WordPress host based in the UK. Visit 34sp.com and use the code WPINVENTIVE at checkout to get your first three months of hosting completely free.

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36: WordPress community and local meetups

Watch on YouTube Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Android.


Ben is joined by Elliot Richmond who runs the local (Cheltenham) WordPress Meetup group. They discuss, WordPress, meetups and the importance of community. If you want to dip into WordPress meet-ups are the best way to meet local developers, designers and businesses who use it.

The sponsor for this episode is Inventive People. Get 20% off first order with the code INVENTIVEPODCAST.

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35: What your website needs to be legal

Ben is joined by Sarah Dixon who shares what you need to have in place to ensure your website is legal, image libraries and copyright.

The sponsor for this episode is Inventive People. Get 20% off first order with the code INVENTIVEPODCAST.

[podcast_options]


Show notes

Edited by Clare Harris – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Pexel.

Something Inventive 34: The future of social and why Facebook is not fun to use

Ben is joined by Jonathan Pollinger and they talk about the future social media, why it’s worth making predictions, JP’s rebrand and why Facebook is bloated and not very much fun to use.

The sponsor for this episode is Inventive People. Get 20% off first order with the code INVENTIVEPODCAST.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

The Hosts

Jonathan Pollinger (@pollingersocial) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Edited by Clare Harris – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Pexel.

Something Inventive 33: First webinar lessons learnt, Recaptcha and Al is leaving us

Al and Ben discuss lessons learnt from their first webinar, how to check if your data has been hacked, gdpr fails and a look back at Al’s time with Rather Inventive before he embarks on a new adventure.

The sponsor for this episode is Inventive People. Get 20% off first order with the code INVENTIVEPODCAST.

If you have any feedback, ideas or topics you’d like covered on our podcast we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via our contact page, leave a voicemail on 0800 881 5805 or mention @RatherInventive on Twitter.

Listen on Apple Podcasts app

Something Inventive is an entertaining and lively podcast on creativity and the web. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or search for ‘Something Inventive’ in your favourite podcast player.


Episode sponsored by our SEO report

Check out our laser focused SEO report. If you need to build up your traffic then this report is for you! Mention our podcast when your order and get 10% off.

Show notes

 

The Hosts

Al Osmond (@inventiveal) – An unusual mix of logical thinker with a creative eye
Ben Kinnaird (@benkinnaird) – Knower of Social media, SEO and ‘the Web’

Be part of the show

Tweet a service or product you’d like to promote, mentioning @RatherInventive and the hashtag #podvert and we’ll read it out over the coming episodes.

If you like the show please give us a rating in iTunes and we’ll read out your comment. You can do this from the podcast player on Apple.

Thanks for listening!


Audio edited by Clare Harris – ‘Goofy Vocal Groove‘ intro music by Dave Girtsman–Image courtesy of Pexel.

Interview: Magnus Unemyr going viral with marketing automation

Ben chats with Magnus Unemyr on how implementing artificial intelligence and automated marketing can impact society and if done well, AI driven, marketing automation can not only propel sales but can and waste less time through more targeted interactions.

They also dip into the darker side of how big data can, and has been misused by companies in the recent past.

 

 

Image Credit: Magnus Unemyr portrait. Banner Image Credit: Image of Magnus Unemyr presenting a lecture.

Michelle L Evans on developing sold out marketing funnels [Interview]

Watch on YouTube Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Android.


In this interview Ben chats with Michelle Evans on how developing a marketing funnel can take your from simply surviving, to SOLD OUT.

Michelle takes us through the steps of developing a funnel from understanding your audience before jumping in to develop a funnel that will nurture more customers into working with you.

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Hobbyist photographers – Why you should invest in a professional

It is truly amazing what we can all achieve with a mobile phone camera but you need to be realistic. When it comes to producing stunning imagery for your business, it really is worth getting the professionals in.

We see so many hobbyist photographers who believe they are saving money by taking the photos themselves but in fact, it’s costing them in the long run.

 

A professional photographer provides experience, knowledge & creative flair

When you hire a professional photographer you are hiring someone who does photography for a living. They have a wealth of experience they can apply to any given situation and will strive to capture your vision. Photography is an art and it’s not at all as simple as point and shoot. They are thinking about their depth of field, lighting, angle, overall composition and scene to tailor the photography style to your industry. It takes years of practice to hone their skill and develop their creative flair to enable them to deliver breathtaking shots that enthusiasts can only dream of.

The skill is not only taking the original shot but also being able to adjust and edit the photos depending on your photo requirements. Whether the colours need to be punchier or the background needs enhancing, editing photos can take hours. To do it well takes experience, practice, and creativity usually on expensive software.

Customers can judge in an instant from the presentation of a product whether or not it is right for them. Using a professional photographer will only increase your chances of getting their attention and for the right reasons.

 

Investing in stock images could be an alternative answer

If hiring a professional photographer is currently beyond your means then consider investing in some stock images. There are many libraries online like EveryPixel, Adobe Stock and Flickr who provide a range of free and inexpensive images for all to use. Just remember if you opt for this, other people will also be using these images, maybe even your competitors so they won’t be unique to your business. If you want to stand out and have professional, unique images which represent your brand, then you have invested in a professional photographer.

 

It doesn’t have to be expensive

If you value how your business is perceived then invest. This doesn’t have to be overly expensive, many photographers will tailor a bespoke package to your needs and means. Or for ease if mind, you can always purchase an off the shelf deal so you know exactly what you can expect. On Inventive People we offer lots of options to enable us to meet our clients’ needs.

 

Image courtesy of Pexel

Interview: Dan Lewis Founder of FreeAgent247

In this interview Ben managed to catch Dan Lewis from Free Agent 247 in-between meetings to chat about their free business model and how video plays an important part in their promotional strategy.

 

Image Credit: Founder Dan Lewis, FreeAgent247. Banner Image Credit: Image of Dan Lewis sat in a chair reading.

Interview: Duane Forrester Yext’s VP Industry Insights

Voice search on Alexa and Google, is an area we don’t have a complete grasp on yet, particularly optimising for it. So, Ben was keen to talk with Duane Forrester, VP of Industry Insights over at Yext.

We discuss why we should be using structured data on our website. How this impacts conventional SEO and why it matters for voice and augmented reality.

 

Image Credit: Founder Duane Forrester. Banner Image Credit: Accounts icons on a mobile courtesy of Pexel

WordPress 5.0 with ‘Gutenberg’ is here, but don’t update without reading this

What is Gutenberg?

It’s the new visual editor built directly into WordPress and replaces the standard content editor used on post and pages. It’s designed to give people more flexibility on how they layout content.

We’ve used tools such as Visual Composer to layout our customers’ web page content for the last few years but it’s nice to see that WordPress is embracing its own visual layout system going forward.

However, if you update your website to version 5 without understanding the consequences it could be cause for frustration.

You can find out more about Gutenberg directly on the WordPress blog.

Update: Checkout episode 40 of our podcast Working with WordPress Gutenberg, where I talk to Kimb Jones about the Gutenberg editor along with a demo of some of the rather handy features built into it.

Screenshot of WP Gutenberg editor

Ok so what do I need to do?

We always recommend that people update to the latest version of WordPress to ensure they have the most reliable and secure version.

However, updating to version 5 will change the way you make content changes in the admin area and if you are using any page builder plugins such as Visual Composer, Elementor or Divi it may prevent these from working correctly.
If you’d like to update to the latest version of WordPress, but keep on working as you are without the Gutenberg editor, we recommend following these steps:

  1. Backup your WordPress site files and Database
  2. Download and install the Classic Editor plugin
  3. Then update your WordPress core

If you run a mission critical website then we would recommend you make the updates on a development server first before rolling out on live just to make sure any incompatibilities are identified.

If you’re a customer on our WordPress Support hosting plan then we’ll manage the transition for you, if not get in touch as we’d be happy help.

How to make your website visitors feel welcome

A recent visit to a hotel left me confused. I didn’t know whether I was in the right place – I couldn’t make out whether it was actually a hotel or a conference centre. There was no reception desk or concierge and there were few signs to direct me, so I made a swift exit.

In contrast, Husband and I stayed at a lovely hotel in Belgium. The reception was spacious, sophisticated, clearly signposted and the concierge was friendly and welcoming. They even offered us some coffee and Hors oeuvre upon arrival. We were impressed!

Why am I telling you this? Because your home page is the entranceway to all the wonderful things that your website is offering so it should be impressive. Don’t be that first hotel.

Your homepage is about more than just a few words and a few pictures. It has an important job to do. Just like the Belgian hotel, your homepage should be welcoming, with lovely décor (good design), clear signage and a friendly concierge (clear and welcoming copy) and clear directions to your room (the product or service you need).

So, what’s important to include in the homepage?

Your design

Grab their attention without being overbearing. Well-designed websites are no longer about standing out through busy design, bold colour and all-singing-and-dancing graphics. There’s no need for bells and whistles, that just confuses the eye and sends readers off in a panic.  To stand out these days you need to use the less-is-more approach, using design that it easy on the eye. By all means, express your creative side, but be subtle and delicate. You want a refreshing quality to your home page – some calming, soothing design with simple creative appeal.

Your brand

Like the grand desk of a 5-star concierge, the logo for your company should be represented clearly but not too overpowering. It should include a tagline that gets to the heart of your mission.

Your words

Ensure that you don’t put people off by overwhelming them with words (that’s what blogs are for) or being enigmatic with too little direction. Just like Goldilocks, your website homepage should be “just right” because you don’t have long to make a good impression and you’ve a lot of information to put across.

Your navigation

Page layout and navigability is crucial to the success of your site. And the home page is the signpost that gets readers to where they want to go, with ease. The main navigation area should be prominent – next to the main body of the page or directly underneath it, for example. And group similar navigation items together.

Your connection

Include links to your social media accounts on your homepage if you want to expand your web presence. Sharing icons to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, at the footer of your homepage will allow your audience to share your site’s content easily.

 

Your website homepage is usually the first page customers come to when they click through to your site; it’s the first impression that you give to your readers. And they need to feel comfortable, be impressed and stay a while to browse. Create something that not only attracts visitors but settles them down for a nice cuppa and some Hors d’oeuvre, before they go to their room, (or browse your website with the intention to buy).

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

SEO Affiliate Domination interview with Greg Jeffries

Ben has always been fascinated by the seemly unending ways people can make money from the simplest things, and affiliate marketing is one of them.

So in this interview he spoke with Greg Jeffries who has a ton of experience in this area and shares some of the ways he uses SEO to generate income.

 

 

Image Credit: Headshot image courtesy of Greg Jeffries and Idyllic Beach and Boat scene by Pexels

Invest in the seeds of your evergreen marketing

It is easy to get bogged down into the constant struggle of reeling in profitable business. And in a tight economy, it’s understandable why we might tighten our belt and trim off the frills. But it’s worth remembering that marketing is one of the key strategies for getting in that new business and building the foundations for eventual sales.

Obviously you need to be sensible, so think about your evergreen marketing; by evergreen marketing I am talking about a marketing idea or concept that will last beyond the next couple of hours, weeks or even years, perennially providing you with new strands of business.

The top four evergreen strategies I would recommend investing in are:

Video

One of the top marketing tools to give your customers value or deliver a personal touch, I cannot express how much I value video. Working around the clock on platforms like Vimeo, YouTube you are able to hook business from worldwide markets.

Whether it is a how to guide, vlog, casestudy, testimonial or product overview it will certainly benefit your business. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, less is always more and you may even be surprised at how affordable it is.

If you don’t have the capacity to create a short video, think about making a slideshow animation from images or using animated GIFS to help catch your audience’s eye.

Website Facelift

In a world of instant gratification and with many of us carrying a computer in our pockets it seems ludicrous if you do not have an online presence. A handful of pages is better than nothing. The absolute basics should be a clear message about who you are, what you can deliver and how to get in touch with you. This is often the first glimpse into your business so make the effort and make sure it gives a professional vibe.

With current online web design sites such as Squarespace or WordPress their really is no excuse. Even hiring a professional web designer is a reasonable cost for most busineses. Giving your site a facelift does not have to be expensive and often needs just a review of the text, images and search optimisation.

Don’t have a website? At the very least make sure you have an online presence using a Facebook Business page or Google My Business profile. How else will your customer’s find you?

Blogging

Informative and educational articles is where you will capture today’s audience. If we want to know something we ask Google.. delving into a world where at a click of a button we can find out how to fix our washing machine or learn how to perfect a certain recipe.

Whether it’s an informative article or a more informal account of what is happening in your business. The more information you share online through articles on your site, the more this will help capture your audience. By writing and sharing something of true value you are instinctively building trust with your customer by proving that you know what you are talking about. Sharing helpful tips and tricks will make you more memorable and possibly prompt a return visit or even a recommendation.

It will also help boost your website up the Google ranks as the search engine robots favour sites with quality and relavent content as it increases the amount of time that is spent on the site, reduces the bounce rate and increases the number of pages visited per session.

Don’t forget all of the content you are gathering could be translated into a video at a later date!

Case studies

You can huff and puff until the cows go home but nobody can sell your business more than your previous clients. When investing in a new venture or purchase the majority of people these days will search online and read the reviews to help them determine which company they would like to go with. If you are good at what you do, be open. Contact your previous customers and ask them if they would mind giving you a review or sharing some feedback. You never know you might find that you learn something from the feedback which could streamline your business further. Whether it is a short statement, written or filmed interview it will add an extra layer of authenticity whilst reminding them that you still exist and could even prompt further work.

It is important to be careful about what you invest in but don’t be afraid to invest in marketing ideas that are fun or novel as often that is the stuff that hooks in your audience. We are all bored and numb to so many of the mainstream marketing campaigns so think of how you can be different and about what your customers would find helpful.

 

Image credit: Adrenalin by Artem Bali from Pexels

3 reasons your website is repelling your customers

You go to your local town to do some shopping. One shop entices you with its window display, and you head for the entrance. Only to find that the door is jammed, and you can’t get in. You can see people in the shop, but no matter how much you try you cannot access that store. Eventually, someone comes to the door and mouths through the glass that the shop is closed. You come back the next day and the situation hasn’t changed. Would you be frustrated? Would you shun that shop forever more and go somewhere else?

So why would you think that your website is any different? You may be proud of your new site, with its branding and its colours, even its poetic and whimsical copy. But does it actually work?

Your website is the face of your company, and you don’t want to give the wrong first impression. Perhaps one of the buttons lead to an error page, maybe the images don’t load, or worse – the website displays that annoying 404 message. There is just too much competition for your customers to turn to, so don’t give them a reason to go.

So, what are the 3 main reasons you could be sending your customers to your competitors?

Inadequate mobile optimisation

In 2017 mobile shopping became the most popular method of shopping for consumers with research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), showing that smartphones were the devices most used by consumers for online shopping, at 41%, during the 2017 Black Friday weekend. And this trend is set to rise with a research report from OC&C Strategy Consultants, Google and PayPal forecasting that around two-thirds of online retail in the UK will be via mobile by 2020.

It’s important for the survival of your business that you adopt a mobile-first mentality. This means, at the very least, checking that your website is optimised for mobile use but ideally ensuring that your visitors’ experience of your site is as good from their mobile as from a desk or laptop.

If your website is not mobile responsive and doesn’t proportionally resize to different size screens or you don’t have a mobile version of your site, that’s not going to go down well with those customers who shop from their mobile. Indeed, statistics show that 40% of users will click over to another website if they are not satisfied with their mobile experience or have difficulty completing a mobile transaction.

Slow website speed

I remember the days of dial-up. Minute upon painful minute of waiting to access the internet. These days everyone is impatient, and most of us won’t wait even 2 seconds for website content to load. And a study by Kissmetrics shows that 40% of us will abandon a site entirely if it takes longer than 3 seconds.

But it’s not just our impatience that is driving this behaviour. A fast website is the sign of a professional and reliable enterprise and having to wait longer than 10 seconds means a site is unworthy of our attention. We relate speed of loading to efficiency, trust, and confidence. But, we relate having to wait with incompetence, insecurity, and to a lack of credibility. The impact of this can be catastrophic for your business. And there is proof in that pudding with some of the biggest companies testing this out. Amazon’s tests showed that if they slowed down by just one second, they would lose $1.6 Billion every year.

Find out why your website is taking its sweet time. For example, slow-to-load mobile pages could be the result of a large number of javascript files and plugins. Image file sizes could affect it too. Look into it and fix it or find someone who can. The impact on your business is just too drastic to leave it to sort itself out.

Pingdom speed test tool


Test the speed of you website on Pingdom, you should be aiming for under 2 seconds.

Poor User eXperience (UX)

We expect a seamless experience when visiting a website. It has become a basic requirement across all platforms and devices, and a site that doesn’t conform to this standard doesn’t stand a chance.

If your website delivers good content and clear conversion opportunities you are maximising your chances of conversion – a recent study from Forrester Research showed that a user-friendly website could raise your conversion rate by up to a 200%.

If, however, you are trying to entice with over-the-top, eye-catching trashy content and/or inundating your visitors with newsletter sign-ups and in-your-face ads, you’re simply going to annoy more people than you attract.

Instead, avoid the garbage. Make the buttons tap-friendly by making sure all buttons, links and calls to action have the appropriate size and margin to prevent errors. Ensure users can tap-to-call. Use infographics and videos rather than reams of text to relay your message. Make it easy for users to navigate, read and tap on menu items.

You need to know your site works, and that all the functions work as designed, and you also need to make it easy for users to navigate and use your website. Otherwise, you might be inadvertently encouraging your customers to go elsewhere.

Your website is the way people buy your product or service, and this is becoming increasingly the case with more sales happening online than ever before. You have only seconds to influence your visitors so ensure that they are accessing a high-speed website, optimised for mobile use and that they are presented with an excellent user experience.

Make sure your customers don’t have to struggle to access or find your products or services, because with the highly competitive nature of eCommerce, your customers will not hesitate to go elsewhere if even the slightest headache arises, and this comes at a considerable cost to your business.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Our Five Favourite Web Chat Apps

A client recently asked for our recommendation on which website chat app to use and as I’ve only have experience with Olark in recent years I thought it would be worth reviewing what’s currently available.

I picked five listed below based on whether they were recommended elsewhere, if I’d heard of them before or on the clarity of the offer and the systems design. I evaluated each chat app as a potential customer chatting to the vendor’s operator judging each on how quickly I got chatting, if I was hounded at all to begin with, what integrations they had and of course the cost. Hopefully this will give you a little more information to refine down your selection to test out.

Summary: JivoChat and Olark stuck out for me as a cost effective way to get started but Zendesk looks like a good step up to a fuller chat and customer support system with better integrations when time and budget allow.

Tawk.to web chat sales website screenshot

Tawk.to

https://www.tawk.to/

  • Chat only. Free with option to pay for branding removal or chat agents
  • Need to enter email/name to start chat
  • Admin is browser only as far as I can see
Olark web chat sales website screenshot

Olark

https://www.olark.com/pricing

  • Chat only from £12/mo/agent but have free plan capped at 20 chats/month
  • Automated messages to start conversations based on rules such as referring URL or location
  • Message templates for quicker responses
  • Integrates with many CRM apps
  • Needed to enter email/name to start chat
  • Exit survey and ability to send copy of the transcript by email
JivoChatweb chat sales website screenshot

JivoChat

https://www.jivochat.com/pricing/

  • Basic version free for 5 agents. Pro version (£7/mo/agent) includes canned responses with some automation message automation
  • No questions to start the chat, was initiated by operator
  • Have desktop and mobile apps as well as browser app
  • Have API/Webhooks
  • Simple exit survey to capture sentiment (thumbs up or down)
Zendesk web chat sales website screenshot

Zendesk

https://www.zendesk.co.uk/product/pricing/

  • Chat from £12/mo/agent
  • Email software £5/mo/agent. Includes basic Knowledge base/FAQ system
  • Optional Answer bot from £38/mo/50 queries
  • Chat box doesn’t pop up automatically. Not able to test out the chat feature
  • Mobile and browser apps from what I can see
  • Have API/Webhooks
Intercom Inbox web chat sales website screenshot

Intercom

https://www.intercom.com/pricing

  • Chat from £38/mo unified comms inbox to manage chats. Can also manage social (Twitter/Facebook) direct messages
  • Help document/FAQ management £35/mo. Includes an operator bot to surface relevant content
  • Initial bot interaction asked for name/email/company/employees. Seemed slightly slower process to other companies
  • Chat box didn’t pop up automatically
  • Mobile and browser apps
  • Have API/Webhooks

Let me know which chat apps you use or the experience you have using them on other websites