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Over 1.2 billion people access the internet on mobile phones and tablets. What will your site show them?

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Phone 0488 406 050

WordPress 5.0 – Be Ready for a BIG Change

The WordPress framework, which is estimated to have been used to create over 30% of all websites on the internet, hasn’t changed a lot over the years.

WordPress 5.0Even since its invention as a blogging platform and it’s ascension to become the #1 Content Management System (CMS) in the world, the basics of running a site on WordPress has remained essentially the same.

With the release of WordPress 5.0, also known at “Gutenberg”, that is about to change.

Matt Mullenweg, the original developer of WordPress, and his team of loyal developers have recognised that the online world has changed immensely since WordPress 1.0 was launched and they are preparing to introduce a brand-new version featuring some of the biggest changes the CMS has ever seen.

What is Gutenberg?

Regular users of WordPress will be familiar with the visual editor shown below where all the editing for a site’s page takes places in the one “box”. Users add text, columns, images, tables and other standard features straight into this area. For more complex items, the current editor requires used of short codes and customised HTML to make things work.

The release of Gutenberg aims to make this process easier, especially for novice users of WordPress. The new editor “breaks” the site components in smaller blocks, with each fulfilling a different task.

The Gutenberg page editor has blocks pre-configured for text, images, columns and galleries as well as media options such as slideshows, video code and audio. Regular page items such as lists, buttons and subheadings are also included with their own blocks.

Although the changes may be a little daunting to some users, having tested the new layout here at Tropical Coast Web Design, we believe that, after the initial “jump”, the change is going to make everything a whole lot easier.

Will Gutenberg break my existing site?

In most cases, your old site will be fine. The new editor is being created to be backwards compatible however with the vast number of community plugins (which add extra functionality), there is bound to be some issues.

I’m still concerned – how can I check my site will be OK?

There are a few steps that you can take to ensure that your site is ready for Gutenberg:

  • Test your current site with the “Gutenberg” plugin. This adds the new editor to your site so you can see how it works and determine whether it affects how the site functions. Any problems – just deactivate the plugin!
  • Turn off Major Updates in your WordPress installation. This will prevent Gutenberg from loading automatically on launch day and you can upgrade to WordPress 5.0 when you are ready to do so.
  • Contact your Web Developer and see if your site is ready for the upgrade. In most cases, developers have already tested their WordPress sites against the new editor and can inform you of any issues that may arise.

If you have any concerns about your website and the new Gutenberg release, please get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design and we’d be happy to take a look for you. The testing we have undertaken with our own client’s websites has revealed no issues except for the short learning curve of the new page editor.
To help our clients with the switch, we are developing a brand-new Tutorial booklet which will demonstrate to how to use the Gutenberg with easy step-by-step instructions.

Note: Originally set to be released on the 19th November 2018, there is currently no firm date for the release of the Gutenberg update.

Sales Funnel Phase One – Awareness

Phase One - AwarenessIn the initial moments where a customer becomes aware of your business and what it has to offer, the all-important lead generation process begin to take place.

Any leads created here are vitally important as they “pull” the customer into the system for nurturing further down the funnel. Without this “pull”, the remainder of the funnel will be ineffective.

With the advent of digital marketing, creating a awareness of your business is not as hard as it used to be. Here’s some “tools” that you can use to generate awareness of your business:

Facebook Ads

Advertising on the #1 social media platform, Facebook, is great for targeting the exact audience you want as you can use the Facebook Ad tool to select the personal traits and interests of potential customers. With a budgeting level that you specify, it is also cost effective for any growing business.

Networking

Build trust and awareness of your business by joining your local Chamber of Commerce, offering your services to non-profit organisations and participating in community groups such as Rotary and Lions.  Get your name out there!

Traditional Advertising – Radio and Print

If your target audience is likely to read your local newspapers and listen to local radio, don’t hesitate to use these traditional methods to promote your brand. Be sure to track any results (from marketing point to customer) to ensure that your marketing budget is not being wasted.

Social Media

Be visible on at least two social media platforms to cast a broad net over your target audience online. As a guide, Facebook is great for “business to consumer” promotions, LinkedIn works for “Business to Business” awareness and Instagram (owned by Facebook) is emerging as a powerful tool for all audience levels.

Phase One - AwarenessContent Marketing

The most authoritative way to establish trust and industry leadership is through the creation of powerful content for your website. Blog posts, videos, podcasts and demonstrations can quickly prove that you know your industry and what your clientele needs from you.

Direct Mail

If you can determine a specific market that is screaming out for your services or products, why not physically contact them with a direct mail campaign, specifically designed for that market alone.

Good SEO on Website

Make your potential customers aware of your business through the application of good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) practices on your website. Ensure that you are “loved” by Google through using effective key words and descriptions on your site along with fresh content and quality inbound links.

Google AdWords

Along with effective SEO practices, you can also engage Google with a paid, structured AdWords campaign designed to target your specific customer demographic.

Partnerships

Partnership programs work with businesses that complement each other and can be done in a very subtle, effective way. For example, a mechanic, upon the completion of a routine service, could leave a small promotion flyer on the dashboard from the local Car Detailer. The detailer could do the exact same in return.

Referral Programs

Join with other local businesses to create a referral program where businesses refer their client base onto the services of others in return for discounts or other reciprocal arrangements.

There are literally dozens of ways that you can make your target audience aware of your business and the products and services it has to offer. The trick is decided which methods are going to be the most effective in gaining the attention of your ideal client.

In our next blog post, we’ll move onto the next phase in the marketing funnel – Conversion – where we take the potential customers who are now aware of your business and begin to convert them from prospects to actual customers.

What exactly is a Sales Funnel?

A Sales Funnel is essentially the journey that businesses lead prospective customers through when they purchase products or services.

Most small businesses probably have a sales funnel process without even realising it. The real power and benefits of the funnel come from documenting and tracking it’s various phases allowing business owners to effectively tailor their marketing efforts. This ensures conversion and advocacy at the end of the journey.

The Sales Funnel

The primary goal of any sales funnel must be to move prospects from one phase to the next until they are ready to purchase from your business and become paying customers.

Unfortunately, a sales funnel is not like a real-life funnel where everything that goes in comes out the other end. Wouldn’t that be nice? Every prospect who enters your business leaves as a customer, in which case, the shape would no longer be a funnel – it would be a cylinder!

But the real world is slightly different.

The sales process always begins with many potential customers and ends with fewer who actually make a purchase. The sales funnel tracks these potential customers from the very first time they hear about your business, right through to the moment they buy from you and even beyond.

It is important to note at this stage that you CAN design your sales funnel to suit your own needs. The sales process differs from business to business depending on your own individual business requirements so feel free to add levels and details as you need them – it is your business that will benefit from accurate tracking and changes during the sales journey.

A little research on the internet will show that some sales funnels have many levels however the sales funnel that I will be working with has been modified for my own requirements for two main reasons:

1. Simplicity
Why over complicate things from the beginning? My sales funnel is a work in progress and I can add to it over time if I find that I need to.

2. The Advocacy Phase
A lot of my work is attained via my existing clients and I want to explore that avenue of marketing in order to continue to grow it.

Over the next four blog posts, I will go through each of the phases in my modified sales funnel – Awareness, Consideration, Conversion and Advocacy.

Note: The content of each of the next four blogs comes from a workshop I delivered to the Cassowary Coast Business Women’s Network. If you or your organisation are interested in my services as a guest speaker for your business network, please get in touch via g.provians@rustymangodesign.com.au

10 Effective Ways to create Awareness of Your Business

10 Effective Ways to generate Awareness of Your BusinessOver the next few weeks in the Rusty Mango blog, we’ll be examining the various levels that comprise an effective sales funnel for your business and its brand. In this post, we’ll examine the top-most level – Awareness.

In the initial moments where a customer becomes aware of your business and what it has to offer, the all-important lead generation process begins to take place. Any leads created here are vitally important as they “pull” the customer into the system for nurturing further down the funnel.

Here’s some “tools” that you can use to generate awareness of your business:

Facebook Ads

Advertising on the #1 social media platform, Facebook, is great for targeting the exact audience you want as you can use the Facebook Ad tool to select the personal traits and interests of potential customers. With a budgeting level that you specify, it is also cost effective for any growing business.

Networking

Build trust and awareness of your business by joining your local Chamber of Commerce, offering your services to non-profit organisations and participating in community groups such as Rotary and Lions. Get your name out there!

Traditional Advertising – Radio and Print

If your target audience is likely to read your local newspapers and listen to local radio, don’t hesitate to use these traditional methods to promote your brand. Be sure to track any results (from marketing point to customer) to ensure that your marketing budget is not being wasted.

Social Media

Be visible on at least two social media platforms to cast a broad net over your target audience online. As a guide, Facebook is great for “business to consumer” promotions, LinkedIn works for “Business To Business” awareness and Instagram (owned by Facebook) is emerging as a powerful tool for all audience levels.

Content Marketing

The most authoritative way to establish trust and industry leadership is through the creation of powerful content for your website. Blog posts, videos, podcasts and demonstrations can quickly prove that you know your industry and what your clientele needs from you.

Direct Mail

If you can determine a specific market that is screaming out for your services or products, why not physically contact them with a direct mail campaign, specifically designed for that market alone.

Good SEO on Website

Make your potential customers aware of your business through the application of good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) practices on your website. Ensure that you are “loved” by Google through using effective key words and descriptions on your site along with fresh content and quality inbound links.

Google AdWords

Along with effective SEO practices, you can also engage Google with a paid, structured AdWords campaign designed to target your specific customer demographic.

Partnerships

Partnership programs work with businesses that complement each other and can be done in a very subtle, effective way. For example, a mechanic, upon the completion of a routine service, could leave a small promotion flyer on the dashboard from the local Car Detailer. The detailer could do the exact same in return.

Referral Programs

Join with other local businesses to create a referral program where businesses refer their client base onto the services of others in return for discounts or other reciprocal arrangements.

There are literally dozens of ways that you can make your target audience aware of your business and the products and services it has to offer. The trick is decided which methods are going to be the most effective in gaining the attention of your ideal client.

In the next couple of blog posts, we’ll take a couple of steps back and look at how you can determine who is your ideal client as well as how you can create a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) to make your business stand out of the crowd.

Four Steps to a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

Four Steps to a Successful Email Marketing StrategyWhile Social Media for small business continues to be a rave topic in marketing forums around the world, statistics indicate that, although annoying to some, email marketing is still one of the most powerful tools that a business can use to engage with its customers. Your Inbox is irrevocable proof of this – how many items of marketing did you receive this morning?

Although some will never be opened, the humble email can still be an effective way of reaching out to your customers. But, as with anything, there is a right way and a wrong way. Here’s our four top tips to help you create an effective (and legal*) email marketing strategy for your business:

Grow your database 

Before you start any email marketing campaign, you need legitimate* emails in your database to use. Gathering these addresses is quite easy if you have an established website. You can use the popular method of the pop-up window or simply have a newsletter subscription somewhere on your home page. MailChimp has plugins that work directly through the WordPress framework and integrate with their newsletter systems, saving the hassle of collecting email addresses and adding them manually to your campaigns.

Whatever method you use, remember to always declare why you are gathering the addresses and what can be expected in return (see value point below).

Remember the Mobile Users

Due to the unstoppable growth of smart phones, more emails than ever before are being viewed on a mobile device. In fact, up to 75% of email opens* could be via mobile depending on your industry. To cater for this audience, ensure that your emails are mobile optimised – easy to read on a small screen, low on data usage and concise in their information.

http://www.emailmonday.com/mobile-email-usage-statistics

Four Steps to a Successful Email Marketing StrategyBe aware of the SPAM Act 2003

To keep your email marketing within the lines of the law, you must ensure that any emails you send comply with three main points  – Consent, Identity and Unsubscribe.

Consent – The receiver of your emails must be made fully aware at the time they subscribe exactly what they will be receiving in return. Consent can also be in the form of an existing relationship with the receiver i.e. they are already a customer.

Identity – Marketing emails must identify who is sending the emails and their contact information.

Unsubscribe – Each email must include an Unsubscribe option so that consent can be retracted at any time.

Learn more: http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Marketers/Anti-Spam

Offer Value

The  secret behind any email campaign that wants to grow and be effective to offer subscribers VALUE in what they receive. Value can come in multitude of forms. You can reply with a free eBook, a newsletter filled with tricks and tips or keep them up to date with the latest industry news. If you are advertising products or services, butter up the receiving party with a discount voucher for their next purchase.

Everyone loves getting something for free and your subscribers are more likely to stick around.

Remember, what may work for one business may not necessarily work for yours. As with any marketing, try out all your ideas but be sure to MEASURE the response. Don’t spend hours of your precious small business time barking up the wrong tree only to find out that you aren’t getting a decent return from your efforts. Make a note of what works and what doesn’t, fine-tuning along the way. This approach will lead to an effective email strategy that will grow your business without eating away at your marketing budget or your valuable time.

 

Avoid the Pitfalls of a Dodgy Web Developer.

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of a dodgy web developer.Checking out your competitors is a must for any small business working online, even in our field of web development. By following businesses in the same marketplace as yours, you can keep an awareness of your competition’s offerings and keep abreast of changes in your industry.

Recently, whilst developing a new pricing structure for Rusty Mango Design, I have observed that there are a few unscrupulous practices that some web developers are engaging in. The products and services that they are offering are not exactly what their clients are paying big bucks for. These operators are the equivalent of the dodgy used-car salesman.

Luckily, by following a few simple tips, you can avoid the pitfalls of working with one of these so-called “web developers”.

Watch out for cheap templates being sold as “custom” website design.

The most common trait of a dodgy web designer is the practice of purchasing and using cheap templates and passing it off as their own work.

Purchases these themes from sites such as Themeforest might be fine for some however, as themes can often be bought for less than $60, it seems very wrong that a “web developer” can charges hundreds of dollars for work that they aren’t doing. These operators generally have no knowledge of website coding and, beyond adding pretty pictures, will not be able to modify or customise the site.

The major downside to this – your site will end up looking exactly like thousands of others who use the same theme.  

Rusty Mango Design uses a base theme for our websites called “Rusty Mango Responsive”.  As you can guess by the name, we developed the theme ourselves and it provides a solid foundation from which we build our customised websites, tailored made and coded to our client’s individual requirements. You can’t buy our theme online.

Shop around for the best Price VS Services.

Don’t accept exorbitant fees for website development simply because “that’s what it costs these days”. A web design doesn’t have to break the bank and eat your entire marketing budget. Most developers offer a free quoting service via their websites so use these to your advantage and compare what can be done and what at what price.

With the number of designers competing for your business, you no longer have to pay big city prices for a website but on the other hand, don’t expect to get a customised site for $99 – it just ain’t going to happen.

Use a Local Developer

The most effective websites are the result of clear communication between the business and the developer. Goals are clearly laid out at the beginning of the design and constant adjustments are made in consultation along the way.

This communication can take many forms but it is important that it is ongoing. I’ve heard stories of web developers being very communicative during the initial discussion of a design but once the quote has been approved and site is developed, they aren’t heard from again. After launch support is important – without it the site becomes stale and the business loses out in the long run.

Using a local web developer can avoid the pitfalls of lost communication. You can visit the developer, be an active participant in the design process of your site and, when it’s all online, receive training, support and assistance to keep the site fresh and performing optimally.

Best of all, if you don’t hear from them – you can turn up on their door step ????

Finally,

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of a dodgy web developer.Always insist on a Pre-Design Agreement or Detailed Quote.

NEVER hire a web developer who hasn’t clearly laid an exact description of the work they are going to do for you and the service they are going to provide afterwards. This may be in the form of a signed contract or, if you work with Rusty Mango, a detailed quote that describes exactly what is going to be done and for how much.

Be sure that any changes to this document are also documented using Change Orders and keep a close track whether these changes tie in with the initial quote. Without this proper documentation, a dodgy web developer can possibly rip you off for thousands of dollars.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business Website

It was once optional for a small business to have a website. Nowadays, having an 24/7 online presence is mandatory to remain competitive in a global marketplace.

But keeping a website current and up-to-date is often hard for a small business. Your employees often have little “spare” time for tasks such as site updates and, as a result, websites can easily be forgotten – left on the “do it tomorrow” pile. Without this required attention, a stagnant site will soon start to repel potential business customers, rather than attract.

Luckily, with a little planning during the development stage (and a regular dedication of time), these problems can be easily avoided and your website can become a strong marketing hub for your small business that doesn’t drain your resources.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteIntegrate a Content Management System (CMS) from Day One

A user-friendly Content Management System allows site owners and managers the ability to update and create new content directly on their websites. By integrating a CMS as the framework for a new website, you are instantly putting yourself into the driver’s seat to control what goes on your site and how “fresh” it stays.

Learning a CMS is not hard either. The basics of WordPress CMS can be learnt in a matter of minutes, as the editing functions are styled like that of a Word Processor. As I often say to new clients – “If you can create a document in Word, then you can update your own website!”

Use a Content Calendar (and stick to it)

A content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar) helps to plan out new content for your website or social media feed and details when it will be created. This weekly, monthly or yearly calendar should be an integral part of your business’ overall marketing strategy.

By planning content in advance, you (or whoever manages your website) can commit to producing site-worthy information that is suitable for your target audience. By putting a due date on it and ensuring that date is adhered to, working on your site becomes part of your everyday business schedule.

Automate Site Updates and Customer Interaction

If it is possible to time aside for working on your site’s content, take advantage of tools such as the content scheduling that is built into WordPress. Create five blog posts or page updates at one time then use the schedule to program the dates that you want the content to be released onto your website.

Here’s the secret: this blog post you are reading was one of five that I wrote over a recent weekend. I have set the schedule in WordPress to release one every two weeks. Blog Posts for next 10 weeks – done!

Schedule a Post

Allow an Employee to take ownership of website management

Although small businesses don’t have employees to “spare”, it would be ideal to assign the maintenance and upkeep of the website to one person – a web-savvy employ who could take care of both website and social media posts.

Giving ownership of the site to an employee (with guidance of course) ensures that the site will be monitored and “fed” new content to keep your online customers, and Google, happy.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteGet your Web Developer to care of updates for you

If all else fails and managing your website is just not possible in-house, look to a professional. Many web development companies offer a monthly plan which includes website content updates. Caution though, if you are taking this option, compare the plan price against the everyday (hourly) rate of the company to ensure that you are getting a decent offer.

You will still to need to provide content via email but a professional will get it online, make it look pretty and ensure that it gets the right sort of attention.

As discussed in a previous blog post, an out-of-date website that is uncared for will cost you business. Prospects visiting the site will get a poor first impression and Google won’t care for your site either. With the tips above, your site remains “fresh” and acting as a positive reflection of the small business that it portrays.

Five Simple Reasons your Small Business should have a BLOG

Unless you have been living under a rock and using smoke signals to promote your business, you are probably aware of the term “Blog”. For the rock-dwellers, a Blog is a regular website article, typically written by an individual and written in an informal or conversational style.

The simple Blog has become a powerful marketing tool and it is one of the most effective tools that a business can use to engage with their customers. Used correctly, a Blog enables direct communication with prospects and allows the sharing of relevant information with current clients.

Here’s five simple reasons why your small business needs to start blogging:

Five Simple Reasons your Small Business should have a BLOGTo provide your customers with helpful content.

Gone are the days where a website simply existed to tell customers where you are and what you do. With a wealth of information available at our fingertips, we expect more from the business sites that we choose to visit.

Reward your site visitors with value by providing helpful tips on using your products/services, examples of how other customers have benefited through a relationship with your business or discussing news articles that are relevant to the industry in which you operate.

Visitors are much more likely to return to your site if they know that fresh information awaits them on each visit.

A Blog gives your Business a Voice.

Through the voice of a blog, a small business operator can show that the business is run by real people who care about what they do. You can use blog posts to provide insights into the business or to introduce the employees who make the business what it is. You can tell your customers WHY you’re in business, HOW you have helped others and WHAT you can do to help them.

Be sure to use your own “voice” when writing blog posts – I read all my posts out loud as I type them to ensure that they “sound” like me.

Create a Two-Way Conversation 

Enable comments on your blog to encourage interaction with your site visitors. If you are concerned about the type of comments that will be left by visitors, systems can be put in place to allow moderation of comments before they are posted.

Reply quickly to all comments and open a channel of discussion. Demonstrate that you are an expert in your industry and your business is worth the site visitor’s attention.

Search Engines LOVE Blogs

The GoogleBot looks for websites that have valuable, helpful content as part of its search ranking system and rewards relevant content with improved positions in search results. Your Blog content, when written correctly, is perfect for fulfilling this requirement as it ticks the boxes for being fresh, relevant AND helpful.

Five Simple Reasons your Small Business should have a BLOGBlogging will Inspire your Business life

Once you get into a routine of Blogging, you’ll start to see new ideas all around you. Not just for your blog, but for all aspects of your business life. Talking with workmates, watching TV, eating in a restaurant, and just walking the dog – you’ll be surprised where ideas will begin to spring from.

Remember this quote from David Allen of GTD* fame – “Your brain is for having ideas, not storing them”.  Write down ideas, straight away. My idea-writing medium of choice – the extra sticky Post-It note, stuck to my monitor.

One hidden advantage to Blog writing that I have found is the strengthening of my ability to effectively write and speak, not just about my industry but in all forms of communication. My language usage has been “awakened” through weekly blog writing and I feel comfortable communicating on forums, emails, customer letters, meetings with clients and speaking with family/friends.

Blog writing is not hard nor time-consuming – simply set aside a small piece of time and get going. I usually write the first draft of a blog in 25 minutes using a Pomodoro timer and then leave that piece for a couple of days. I’ll then take another look to polish before posting online (which usually takes another 25 minutes).

The most important thing is to start and be consistent – the benefits of a Blog will surprise you.

* GTD = “Getting Things Done” by David Allen

How Domain Hijacking can cripple your website

Recently a client of Rusty Mango Design went through the unfortunate experience of having their .com.au domain name “stolen” from underneath their feet. Whilst the domain hijacking was done through legitimate means, the registrant who acquired it had no right to the name itself and it caused disruption as my client’s customers could not access their website for many weeks.

Domain Hijacking sounds like a criminal activity but the actual definition can go both ways.

Wikipedia describes Domain Hijacking as “the act of changing the registration of a domain name without the permission of its original registrant, or by abuse of privileges on domain hosting and registrar software systems, a cybercrime.”

In the case of our client, their domain name had simply lapsed in payment. In Australia, lack of payment doesn’t mean that the name is immediately available for anyone to buy. Even after the due payment for renewal has passed, the business still has 14 days to “pay up” and reacquire their .com.au domain name.

During this 14-day period though, the domain name will appear on the Australian Domain Authority’s (AudA) website as pending expiry and this is where those dubious businesses can swoop it and attempt a hijack. They can set up a domain backorder account through legit means such as GoDaddy and CrazyDomains.  If the payment isn’t forthcoming from the original registrant, the backorder will immediately purchase the domain as soon as it becomes available.

What can you do?

Fortunately, in Australia, our .com.au domains are protected to a certain degree. To register a particular domain, it must have a clear or exact link to the business who is registering it. For example, Rusty Mango Design, who specialise in website design, cannot register a domain name for deckfurniture.com.au – it has nothing to do with our business and, if picked up by the AuDA, we would receive a rap over the knuckles and lose the name with no refund.

It’s important to note that this does not apply to regular .com domain names – that is why it is so important to register the Australian .com.au domains.

Domain HijackIn the case of my client, the domain name was taken and used by a business not related to anything in the domain name itself. At my suggestion, my client quickly contacted the AuDA about the hijacking issue, a brief investigation was undertaken and the domain was released for re-purchase. Rusty Mango Design purchased the domain back on behalf of our client and we were back in business.

The downside was that their business website was out of action for over a month – a long time, especially if you are an online retailer.

To prevent your domain name being taken, be sure that you have automatic payment renewal set up through your domain register and credit card details are current and not likely to expire soon. Your domain register will email you in advance when renewal is upcoming so also check that your registered email address is correct.

Rusty Mango Design registers domain names on behalf of our clients and take care of any automated payments ensuring that domains remain in the hands of their rightful owners.

Domain Hijacking is not the end of the world. If you do have a legitimate claim to the domain name – get in touch with the AuDa and they will investigate the issue on your behalf.

But as always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

 

Five Website Mistakes that might be killing your Conversion Rates

Don't kill your conversion ratesFor the uninitiated, the conversion rate of a website is simply the percentage of visitors who take a desired action on the site. Converted visitors might complete an online form, call the business or make a purchase.

A low conversion rate means that the site is not performing to its optimum ability and it can be caused by several factors. None of these should be caused by the site itself and some can be easily avoided with awareness of UX (user experience) on your website.

Here’s five mistakes that are made regularly in modern websites:

Massive Media Files

Although the NBN is making the internet slightly faster across most of Australia, not everyone has access to a speedy connection with a large download limit. When adding media such as images, sound files, documents and video, be sure to optimise these files so they are an acceptable size for all visitors to your website to download or access.

Hidden Call to Actions

Make it blaringly obvious to your website visitors exactly how you want them to interact with your business.

Don’t hide purchase buttons, make content easy to find and ensure that enquiry forms are accessible with a minimum of searching. Put these items where your customers can expect to find them.

If you are not sure, go and look at other websites to see what is working for them.

Don't kill your conversion ratesSEO-Only Content

Optimising your site for Google is a hard task and it can be tempting to add content purely to push that all important ranking up in search results. Keyword stuffing, hidden links and unnatural anchor text are a few examples of content manipulation that Google frowns upon.

Not only are you risking total removal from Google if you are caught using these content malpractices but the resulting text can be confusing for your site visitors too. Write for your target audience with the correct SEO practices and you will keep Google happy at the same time.

Music when the page loads

No.

Might have been cool in the early 00’s but now it’s an instant page turn-off – just don’t do it.

Pop-up Windows

In my view, there is nothing more annoying than arriving at a website and then, before you can view anything, you are hit with a pop-up window. The goal of a pop-up is to “harvest” email addresses for mailing lists, and the windows works to a degree, but how many site visitors see this intrusion as a red flag and leave the site as a result?

If you are using immediate pop-ups and you have a high bounce rate on the front page of your website, this may be the cause. Try using a less intrusive pop-up on your site (maybe in the corner of the screen) or change the timing so the pop-up appears after a set-time. Another popular alternative is to use a pop-up window as a site visitor tries to leave your website.

There are four key items that are essential to the success of any small business website: content, speed, ease-of-use and an awareness of your target audience. By keeping those items front-of-mind at all times, you should be able to enjoy a high conversion from your site to your business.

Importantly, track your statistics using whatever methods are available (Google Analytics is a champ at this) and, if your site fails to convert, check it against the mistakes above and make the necessary changes. By making consistent tracking part of your website routine, your website can become a major marketing asset for your business.

Tropical Coast Web Design