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Common mistakes when reconsidering decisions

Seth Godin on Reconsidering decisions

“Jay Levinson used to say that you should keep your ad campaign even after your best customers, your wife and your partner get bored with it. Change it when the accountant says it’s time.”

 

Clients often tell me how they don’t like the design anymore, or it’s time for a change. Sometimes it’s better to just wait and move onto more important things.

Creating a sitemap

When thinking about your sitemap, there are two things you  need to bear in mind. What do your customers need? and then what do search engines need? Answer both questions with your sitemap and you’ve made a good start on a great site. (more…)

Why should you use a web copywriter?

Most people turn to a web designer when they need a new  website because they know that making a good first impression is vital. But people  use the content to decide whether or not to buy, so it’s vital that it’s as  professional as the design.

If you’re thinking about writing your website content  yourself, here are five reasons why you should consider hiring a web copywriter  instead.

  1. A web copywriter will save you time. If you’re  busy or you simply don’t like writing, you’ll never find the time to write and  your website will never be finished. Brief a web copywriter and they’ll do the  hard work for you.
  2. A web copywriter will save you money. If you’re  writing content, you’re not doing business and you’re not making money. Give  the job to a copywriter. Then they can do their job – and you can do yours.
  3. A web copywriter will have a fresh perspective.  You know your business inside out. Is there a risk you’ll use jargon or  structure the website in a way that only an insider will understand? The  chances are your customers aren’t experts in your business. A web copywriter  will make sure that your business is understandable to everyone, not just those  in-the-know.
  4. A web copywriter is an expert in writing for the  web. Writing for the web is different to writing for print. A web copywriter  knows how to make copy work on screen. (See Top Tips  for Web Copywriting for a few hints).
  5. A web copywriter understands search engine  optimisation. Your content might be fantastic. But unless it’s been optimised,  there’s a risk no one will ever see it. A web copywriter understands how search  engines work and how to maximise the chances of your website being found. (See Choosing  Keywords for SEO for an introduction to this area.)

So there you go, five reasons to use a web copywriter. I  hope they’ve convinced you to consider one for your website project.

 

The kindness of others

While parking in Chepstow for our team meet-up I was short 30p for the pay and display. I bounded over to the Tourist Information office in the hope they might break a note for me – The kind woman that greeted me was unable to change my note but instead gave me the 30p I needed. Thank you, who ever you were. (more…)

How many people visit my website?

Google Analytics line graph

Just like every other marketing medium, a website has to earn its keep. The good news is that you can find out a lot more about what  people do when they encounter your website than when they come across your offline marketing messages.

How many people visit your website is just the start. You can also find out:

  • What they look at
  • How long they spend browsing it
  • How many take action after browsing
  • and more.

And armed with the knowledge about how people are interacting with your website you can tweak it and tweak it until it is getting the response you want.

When we make changes you can:

  • See if there’s been an improvement in how many people visit or how long they spend on your site
  • Decide if something’s worth doing again
  • Know if the website is bringing in enough revenue by itself (a great position to be in) or if you need to continue a mix of activities (probably the most advisable course).

That’s all very well, I hear you say, but exactly how do you measure all this? The chances are that your website provider will have a  statistics package, but it may not offer all the information you need.

The solution is Google Analytics. It’s free, simple to install (just a matter of copying and pasting some code onto each page of your site) and provides a wealth of information. So if you’re not impressed with your stats package or you don’t have one, I’d always recommend Google Analytics as the tool to turn to.

Learn more with our Guide to Google Analytics.

Building a marketing plan on a shoestring (1/2)

The web offers a wealth of tools that can help you market your business on a shoestring. In this post and the next one, I’ll take a look at ten ways the internet can help promote your business. Spend 10% of your marketing time on each one and you can build your business on a budget. Here goes … (more…)

How to choose the right keywords for SEO

A guide to choosing the right search terms for your business

First things first. What are keywords? They are the words or phrases that someone looking for a business or service like yours will type into a search engine to find you. And if those words and phrases don’t feature in the content, their website won’t come up when someone types them into a search engine.

As a general rule, your keyword list shouldn’t be very long. (If you’ve got 150 words or phrases in your list, you’re either running a multinational business with hundreds of products or you’ve got too many words on the list). Around 10 to 12 words or phrases is plenty for the average site.

So how do you choose them?

 

Part one: brainstorming and choosing

Brainstorm all the words that come to mind when thinking of your business. Don’t worry at this stage how many you’ve got. Now look at each of them in turn and ask “if I was looking for a business like mine, would I type this into Google?”. There are three possible answers:

  • yes
  • no
  • only if I combine it with one (or more) other words or phrases in the list.

Remove all the “nos” from the list and combine all the “only ifs”.

 

Part two: checking and exploring

The next step is to check your list.

Enter them into Google (or your search engine of choice) and see what comes up. If your competitors or websites similar to yours are coming up, you’ve probably got the right keywords. If they aren’t, you can remove them from the list.

Ask your customers what they would type into a search engine if they wanted to find a business like yours. If they match yours, that’s great. If they don’t, add them to the list.

Use Google’s keyword research tool. This will provide you with suggestions you may not have thought of. It will also give you an idea of how competitive your chosen keywords are so you can assess your chances of appearing high up in the rankings. And this is extremely important.

 

Part three: assessing the competition

The last and perhaps most important step in this process is to assess your chances of appearing high up in the results when people search for them.

Let’s take an example. If you sell cars, you might think your top keyword is “cars” and that you need to be on the first page of results when people search on “cars”. But realistically

  • you won’t be
  • you don’t want to be (honestly!).

You won’t be because you’ll be competing with every single website in the world that’s about cars. The chance of being in the first one hundred pages, let alone the first page or the number one spot are remote, to say the least. Optimise your site on the word “cars”, you’ll never be found by your potential customers. The result? A website that isn’t doing its job.

But why don’t you want to be? Because anyone searching for the word “cars” is unlikely to be looking for you. They’ll be looking for photographs, to find out how they work, to find out how many there are, etc etc. The one thing they aren’t doing is looking for you. So if you did manage to get onto the first page, you’d get lots of visitors, certainly. But how many would turn into customers?

Optimise your site on the type of car you sell (luxury cars, vintage cars, red cars) and where you are (Herefordshire, Norfolk ) instead and you’ll only be competing against other people who sell the type of cars you do where you do. So your chances of being at the top of the rankings are better. What’s more, if people type “vintage cars for sale Herefordshire” into a search engine, they’re definitely looking for you. The result? A website that’s doing its job.

Think of it like this. If you work in a shop, you don’t need every person in town visiting your shop, you just need every person who is looking to buy what you sell. Get your keywords right and you’ll attract those people.

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