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A website launch is only the beginning…

One of the biggest mistakes that a new website owner can make is to assume that once the launch of their site has taken place, the hard work is over.

Yes – their business now has an online presence, but without further attention and work on their site, the full benefits of being online will not be achieved.

There still several tasks that need undertaking to make the world pay attention to the site and several more that will require ongoing work to keep the site healthy and functional.

Task 1: Get Google to pay attention

It should come as no surprise that Google does not automatically add websites to their search results. They first need to be notified that a site actually exists before they will send a “Googlebot” to check it out.

There are several ways to make this happen smoothly:

  • Add your site to your “Google My Business” account. It’s a best way to get noticed fast.
  • Make sure your site is Search Engine Optimised (SEO) by using a plugin, like YOAST or All-In-One to guide you through the process of SEO setup. These ensure that the search engine “crawlers” find what they need to.
  • Share your new website link around with other businesses and organisations that are already established online. Be sure to link back to them in turn – Google loves inbound and outbound links.

It is important to remember that Google is in control of this process, not you. Their software technicians are always tweaking the search algorithm so what may have worked last week for SEO, may not work this week.

Task 2: Track your site statistics

It is vital to measure and monitor the statistics for your website. By keeping an eye on visitor numbers, popular pages, bounce rates and functioning keywords, you will be able to adjust your site and its contents to achieve the results you want.

The best solution is to sign up for Google Analytics, integrate this with the Dashboard of your website and monitor your search results regularly. If your search ranking starts to decline or you are having a high bounce rate, the statistics will tell you that you need to take action.

https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/

Task 3: Creating fresh content

Not only is fresh content on your website good for impressing site visitors and helping customers, it is also very good for the website itself. Google’s search ranking algorithm has a special fondness for sites with updated, relevant content, and promotes these sites higher on search results.

Once initially indexed by Google, the “Googlebot” re-visits your site every few weeks and checks the content it finds against the content from its last visit. If it finds the same old information every time, you may be penalised in search results and potentially end up lower than your competitors.

A new article in your blog every couple of weeks, a client gallery or testimonials from your customers are very easy to add and can make Google happier with your website.

Task 4: Implement site security

Benjamin Franklin wisely once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This has never been so true than with a website. There are several vital security components that need to be enacted on your site to discourage Spammers and Hackers from breaching your emails, forms and online files.

# 1 – Get a Security Certificate for your site.

A security (SSL) certificate creates a secure link between a website and a visitor’s browser by confirming the site’s legitimacy and encrypting data between the two parties. This extra certificate is shown in your browser as the https:// prefix at the beginning of a domain name and a padlock in the address bar.

# 2 – Enforce SPAM Controls

Make sure that your online forms are all guarded by Google’s new ReCaptcha protocol – it is now invisible (no more typing in codes) but very effective. Your web server also needs has effective SPAM filters at its core level and most server providers include this in their storage packages.

#3 – Update your plugins regularly

Hackers continually look for ways into vulnerable servers and will use any weakness to break their way into your site. An out of date plugin (or WordPress version) on your site could be the weak link that they are looking for.

#4 – Use the latest version of PHP on your server

PHP is a programming language used in the development of many modern websites. It is vitally important for security reasons to keep the PHP version up to date (usually via your web server’s Control Panel).

#5 – Install WordFence on your WordPress site

Wordfence provides a range of features and options for site owners that help protect their sites from hacking. On top of this, Wordfence provides monitoring of the other components in a site and notifies, via email, when action needs to be taken.

None of the tasks above are “set and forget” – site owners need to adjust SEO triggers, regularly check statistics, add content and enforce security measures to make sure that their sites are fully functional and performing their purposes. Nothing above needs to be overly time consuming but, in the rush of a busy workplace, small tasks can be easily forgotten.

The best way to stay on top of these tasks is to schedule them into your working week, just like any other task. By doing so, you will give your site the best chance of success.

The Essential Checklist for creating a business website that works.

Did you know that 48% of customers will stop considering your business if you don’t have a website? *

*Telstra

A website is a key part of business marketing and should be at the core of your business’ online presence. Social Media is fine up to a point, but online-savvy customers want to know more about the business they are dealing with and how it can help them.

But what are the elements of a good small business website? Below is our checklist of key components that your website needs to be effective and successful:

1. Clearly defined website goals.

Although they aren’t visible in the final design, outlining goals for your website is vitally important to the end results. Without a clear roadmap in place, your direction may be offline with what you want to achieve and what your customers are looking for.

Use the five W’s as a starting point to define your goals:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What are they looking for?
  • When are your services available?
  • Where are your customers based?
  • Why do they need your products and services?
  • How can you help solve your customer’s problems?

2. An easy-to-use site menu.

Clear navigation on your website not only helps your visitors find what they are looking for, but it also helps search engines such as Google to index your site properly.

Plan your site that no page is any further than two mouse clicks away from the front page – else it is in danger of being lost to your visitors. Conversely, all pages on the site must also link back to the home page.

3. Business appropriate design.

When designing the overall look of your business website, make sure it appears as expected to your target audience. For example, the audience for a nightclub website would not expect to find a website design more suitable to an aged-care facility.

In addition, don’t go too far with the visuals of your design – the focus of the website should always be the user experience. Heavy visuals can also be distracting, and they will slow down the load-time for your site.  

4. Mobile-friendly.

In a recent report from https://www2.deloitte.com, it is estimated that 91% of Australians own a smart phone and use it regularly to access the internet. This means a large proportion of any website’s traffic will be coming to you via mobile and your site needs to be developed from the ground up to cater for this.

When looking to be mobile-friendly, there shouldn’t be two versions of your site. It should be the same site that automatically adapts its various components to deliver the same content on any screen size.

5. On-Point Content.

When it comes to selling your products and services, there is no alternative to high-quality content. Engaging your visitors is the key to lengthening the time they spend on your site and reducing its dreaded bounce-rate.

Ensure that any content is clear, concise and relevant to the person who is reading it. Make sure, as your site gets older, you change-up the content on a regular basis to keep it fresh – not just for your site visitors, but for the Google-Bot which will be looking for such changes.

To keep your content on-point, keep referring to the goals of your site established in step #1.

6. Clear & Visible “Call To Actions”

Whatever you want your customers to do on your website – you need to make it stand out. This is known as the “Call To Action” (CTA).

The CTA’s that we use can determine whether people take action and in what numbers. There are two core objectives of a CTA: telling what they should do and giving them the motivation to do it.

Here’s some example CTA’s that can be used on your website:

Get My Offer Redeem My Prize Book My Demo Subscribe Buy Now Call Us Today Reserve Your Place Book an Appointment  

7. Accessible contact details.

Allow your customers to reach out to you quickly with clear contact details that are easy to access and use. At a minimum, your details should include your business address (if applicable), phone number and email address.

Use a professional email address, preferably with your own domain name – addresses provided by free email services can portray the wrong image to prospective customers.

If you would like your customers to contact you directly from your website, include a contact or enquiry form on the site.

8. Site Traffic Analytics

Without tracking the visitors that come through your site and watching where (and if) they are spending their time, there’s no way you can measure if your website is achieving the goals that you have set for it.

Fortunately, tracking is easily done on several levels. Your website server can follow the most basic of movements into your site and you can install a plugin to watch what happens on your site. Obviously, the most well known and best option is to sign-up for Google Analytics.

Briefly, the most important metrics you should track in your website are:

  • Number of Visitors
  • Bounce Rate
  • Page Views
  • Duration of Stay
  • Time on Page
  • Traffic source
  • Device Source
  • Interactions on site
  • Exit Page

Boost your website by checking these five statistics.

Web statistics are often the forgotten element in a business website, yet they are key to whether the site succeeds or fail.

Site Statistics

By paying attention to the smallest of details, you will be able to adjust the operation of your site to ensure that you have the best chance of converting visitors into customers. I

n short, monitoring your site’s statistics could make the world of difference when it comes to the key question – is your website working for you?

Here’s five key statistics that you need to monitor on a regular basis:

Site Traffic

This metric counts the total number of visitors to your site and it’s a great way to quickly gauge the growth or decline of visitor numbers. You can also measure any increase during specific promotions i.e. a sales campaign on Facebook.

It’s important to note there are two type of site traffic measured – unique and repeat visitors. Unique visitors are those coming to your site for the first time and repeat visitors are coming more than once. Both are important to determine if you are receiving new visitors and whether your content is worth come back again in the future.

Traffic Source

This data helps to define where the traffic above comes from. There are generally four sources:

  • Organic: From search engines such as Google and Bing.
  • Referral: Directly from other websites (also known as inbound links).
  • Direct: Visitors physically typing in the site’s address.
  • Social: From social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc).

Look to use a variety of traffic sources in your statistics and never rely on one platform only. If, for example, your social media crashes and it is your main source, traffic to your site could be severely impacted.

Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate (BR) of your website determines how many people leave immediately after arriving. A high BR is not good – it indicates that something is wrong with your content or offerings. Unfortunately, it won’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but improvements are definitely needed.

Tip: If your site has a high BR, ask friends and colleagues to “test” the site from the mindset of a visitor – they may see something that you, as the owner, can’t.

Top Pages

This metric allows the site owner to determine which pages are most popular with visitors. The data usually includes how many “hits” the page has had and how long visitors spent perusing the content.

By looking at the popularity of a page, information can be ascertained about the type of content your visitors are looking for and this in turn, can influence the content of other less popular pages.  

Conversion Rate

The most important data in site statistics, the conversion rate determines whether your site is actually doing its job – converting visitors to customers.

The data is determined by looking at the number of unique visitors to a site and dividing that by how many of those visitors take some form of action on the site. This action could be several things:

  • The sale of a product.
  • Subscription to a newsletter.
  • Completion of an enquiry form.
  • A share of your content on social media.

So…. how do I measure these statistics?

Obviously, the “big brother” of website statistics is Google Analytics, the basic version of which is free. Being linked to the world’s most popular search is a huge advantage, but Google Analytics has so many tools that it can be a little daunting to first time site owners.

Another alternative, if you have a WordPress site, is Wp Statistics from Verona Labs. This plugin will give you many of the metrics listed above and is hosted locally so no sharing with Google – some of your site visitors may appreciate this

Whatever system you use, website statistics are vitally important for site owners to ensure that the money in a website is put to good use and acts as a boost to your business’ bottom line.

How to make online sales with your existing website.

In the current crisis, many small businesses have been forced to move online quickly and adapt to a whole new way of operating.

Some, without websites, are trying to utilise their existing social media presence. However, with many other businesses doing the same thing, there is good chance that posts are being “lost” in the continuous feed streaming through on Instagram and Facebook.

Those businesses with existing websites stand a much better chance of being found through search engines, complimented by their social media. Those with online stores are obviously the best positioned to take on the challenge of extra business but what about websites that aren’t designed to be online stores? Is there something they do?

Absolutely. Here’s five simple steps to create an online sales page for your website during the COVID-19 crisis – without breaking the budget.


Step One: Choose 12 of your most popular products.

The page will ideally list your most popular products, so write a list of what those products are. Here’s some questions to get you started: – What do your customers come to you to buy most frequently?

  • Do you sell anything that will be helpful during the current crisis or make it easier?
  • What products are easiest for you to post or deliver in person?

We’ve set 12 products as a “loose” limit as you don’t to overwhelm customers with choices and risk putting them off making a purchase.


Step Two: Set up a dedicated landing page.

With your products selected, create a new page in your website CMS*. This will be the landing page for traffic coming into your site that you want to sell to. It will also act as a gateway to the remainder of your website.

Keep text on the page to a minimum – introduce what you are selling and outline how your business is operating during the crisis – two paragraphs maximum.

Underneath these paragraphs, layout the 12 products you are offering with a photo, name and price. The images can be clickable if you would like to provide more information but ensure that any new page opens in a new tab – this way the main “sales” page will stay open in the background.


Step Three: Contact Form

Your customers will need a way to contact you to place an order. Be sure to include these two options:

  1. Your business phone number – ensuring that it is “clickable” for mobile site users.
  2. A contact form so that customers can supply their contact details and the name of the product they wish to purchase.

By using a contact form plugin on your site, i.e. Contact Form 7 (WordPress), you can also set up an autoresponder to send the customer further information for the sale i.e. delivery information and banking details for direct deposits.

The customer’s phone number on the form will allow you to call them, confirm the order and take credit card payments if you have that capability.


Step Four: Social Media

Once the landing page is ready, start promoting it in your social media feeds. Let your audience know what they can do by visiting your site and include a link that goes directly to your new landing page.

To encourage of your Facebook post, you could include a simple “coupon” code that can be typed into your page’s contact form. For example, the code “SAVE10” could be used for a 10% discount.


Step Five: Pop-Up on Home Page

For those who arrive at your site via regular search engines or direct links, create a popup box that appears on the home page. This can contain a simple message and link button through to the special landing page.

The “Popup Maker” plugin on WordPress is perfect for creating a pop-up that grabs attention.


What if I don’t currently have a website?

For small businesses caught by the current crisis without a website, Tropical Coast Web Design is currently offering full function one-page websites (with email) for only $299 and a very quick turnaround. Head over to our special offer page for more information and get your business online this week!

*Content Management System

My business has a new online store – now what?

Although regional small businesses are slowly starting to move online, some still fail to grasp how different an online store is to a conventional ‘bricks and mortar’ site.

With the latter, a physical site is set up that all passers-by can see it; both while it’s under construction and afterwards, when the doors are thrown open for customers for the first time.

With an online store, the construction is sometimes done under a “veil of secrecy” but when it’s finished and ready, most site owners automatically expect a flow of traffic through the virtual front door. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. People need to know that the site exists before they can visit it!

It’s important to note that Google doesn’t list sites immediately – it can often take two to three weeks for a site to appear on search results and even then, you may not even make the first page.

My advice – don’t wait for Google. You can promote that brand-new site of yours right now with the following simple tips:

Tip #1 – Add your website marketing into your current “conventional” promotions

This simple tip is often overlooked because some business owners believe that a website is marketed through online methods only.

You can start getting ready for your site’s launch by updating all your promotional materials – business cards, brochures, roadside signs, clothing, pens, company cars, exterior signage, invoices, everything. Anywhere that a current client sees your business name should have the new web address in bold lettering.

If you live a smaller town as I do, get your local newspaper on board for the launch. For a relatively small cost, you can grab some great exposure with an editorial feature. Often these include a half-page “story” on your new site with the other half-page including an advertisement with all your details.

Tip #2 – Utilise your Social Media presence

One of the great advantages that Social Media has over Google is the instant gratification that it gives to every one of our updates, pins, posts or tweets. We don’t have to wait for the search engines to index and archive our information – it is instantly out there. This makes it ideal for promoting a brand-new site.

Most of us already have a Social Media presence so why not use that to your site’s advantage. Announce to all and sundry that you have a new online store and ask your social media “friends” to pass on the news.

Don’t leave it at that though – make sure you create a plan and use your Social Media power to drive everything that your site does. Running a pizza shop with online ordering? Hold instant competitions to boost slow nights. Got a brand-new outfit in your e-commerce boutique? Get one your staff to model it and post it on Instagram and Pinterest. Offering free shipping for today from your e-store? Get the word out instantly with a tweet on Twitter.

Tip #3 – Hold a launch special (with coupons).

Use your newly re-vitalised social media presence to share a coupon from your online store – the software that runs your eCommerce component (i.e. WooCommerce) probably already has one built-in. A coupon is a code that, when applied to the checkout area of a site, generally applies a small discount or bonus such as free shipping. They are designed to only be used once – automatically cancelling after use.

People love coupons – and they’ll also share them like crazy, quickly spreading the word about your new online store.

Conclusion

Try out those three tips and will be giving your e-commerce store a red-hot start in its online life. Don’t procrastinate and wait for people to find you – get out there and “grab the bull by the horns.” A site owner is in absolute control of the future (and potential success) of their online business. It won’t happen by itself – some hard yakka is required.

SEO Checklist for Site Owners

Website owners often think that SEO factors such as keywords, title tags and descriptions are the key to ranking well in Google.

While they are still important, the Google algorithm has evolved and the practice of optimising just these parts of a web page are long gone – the “GoogleBot” now delves deeper into the context of a page and how your site interlinks with other sites on the World Wide Web. 

This checklist has been created to help site owners improve their page content in the eyes of the search engines. It also includes tips to improve vital external SEO factors as well.

#1 Keywords & Topics

Before any work starts on improving the SEO of your page content, spend a few minutes and write down the words and phrases your prospective customers might use to find your website. You may need to conduct research with your target audience to determine what they are looking for in your business.

#2 Content

Check that your written content has been created specifically for the target audience of the chosen topic or information. It needs to be relevant and consistent throughout the page – Google will pick up on your keywords and titles, checking these closely against the content you have written.  

#3 Page Title

The main title of each page on your site needs be relevant to the content and act as a unique tag for search engines. It should be a maximum of 60 characters and, if possible, contain the keywords that are most pertinent to the page topic.

The same rules apply for any sub-headings you may have throughout your content.

#4 Body Copy

Without over-obsessing on the usage of key words, check through the content on each of your pages to ensure that there is a scattering of the words that you anticipate your target audience will be using in their searches. With that in mind, ensure that your content still reads fluidly and makes sense without too much “jargon”.

#5 Tag every Image

Search engines can’t “see” images on your website. As a result, they can’t be used for search algorithm purposes unless they have been tagged with an Alt Attribute. These attributes are the small text boxes that you often see when you float your cursor over an image on a web page.

The Alt text helps the search engines understand what an image is about. These tags are a perfect way to add more keywords into a “hidden” part of your web page content.

#6 Inbound Links

Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are a great way for your website to gain attention and credibility with Google and other search engines. When established and authoritative websites link to your small business site, you automatically “inherit” some of their importance in the eyes of Google.

How do you get these other sites to link to your site? Create great content that people naturally want to link to and let them know about it. You can also look to foster quality links through natural business connections and networking opportunities.

Reciprocal links are also a great way to help each other out – “You link to me and I’ll link back to you.”

#7 Social Media and Online Directories

For this step, head to Google and type in your business name. If your business has been around for a while, you’ll see several search results from directories such as Yellow Pages and TripAdvisor, etc. Click on each and register your website address – in some cases, you may need to create a login. Each one that you add your address to could potentially become a backlink to your site.

Check that your business’ social media platforms have the site address listed as well. This ensures    that, if your target customer finds your social media first, they’ll still end up on your website.

Conclusion

While the list above is by no means comprehensive, by carrying out each of the steps shown, you will be placing your website in a good position to be found by Google and ranked accordingly. Tweaks to SEO are inevitable to improve your ranking over time and it is suggested that you check your search position every week to determine what SEO changes need to be made.

Google hates my website!

How to get some “love” from the search giant…

Getting a website for your business is only part of the challenge in creating an online presence. But what if nobody is finding that website? No visitors – no point having a site in the first place. Google is the king when it comes to online search and if your site isn’t visible in their search rankings, then your site is invisible.

But what if you have submitted your site to Google, and nothing happens? Or, just as bad, what if your website is appearing on page 22 of search results? No-one is going to find you.

Technically, despite the title of this blog, Google can’t hate your website. It may not like some of your practices, the content you are delivering or how you are presenting your information to your visitors. These are some of the factors that can lead to poor search rankings.

But luckily, there are some simple measures that you can apply to your site to get some of that Google “love”:

1. Use keywords intelligently

Keywords have always been regarded as the main part of Google’s search algorithm*. Pre-2010 websites used to be “stuffed” with keywords to get a good result in search listings.

Try that now and you may find your site blacklisted. In 2019, Google likes the keywords to be integrated with the content that it represents.

TIP: To implement keywords on your site:
– Write down a list of the terms that people may use to find what you are offering.
– Simply insert those terms into the relevant parts of your website’s text. Ensure that the content still reads correctly and don’t try to “squeeze” every single term onto every single page.

2. Ensure your site is “mobile friendly”

If your site isn’t displaying properly on a mobile device then you are not only missing out on site visitors, you are also risking a penalty from Google.
Back in 2015, Google stated that “that comparable mobile sites will rank higher than non-mobile friendly sites in mobile search results.”

TIP: Don’t lost position – if your site is not mobile, get in touch with your web developer today.

3. Create a Site Map

Google uses web crawlers known as Googlebots to “crawl” through websites across the internet and these bots love a bit of direction. That is why having a site map integrated into your website is very important.

This map tells the bot how to intelligently move through your site. It also tells the search engine where the content is on your site and when it was last updated.
TIP: If your site is built on WordPress (all ours are), you can easily add a site map with a plugin like Google XML Sitemaps.

4. Deliver content with value

Google doesn’t actually read the content of your website. It observes the number of people that are searching for you, whether they go to your site, how long they stay, whether they dig into your site, etc.

Using this information, Google surmises whether your site visitors are finding what they are looking for and if it is worth viewing.

TIP: Read through your site content and make sure it is all “on point”. If it doesn’t benefit your site visitor, then it may not be benefiting you through Google.

5. Secure your site

Another area where Google enforcing change is the security of websites across the internet. An insecure site is a prime target for hackers and Google doesn’t want to lead any of its users into a dangerous site.

TIP: All sites must have a security certificate (SSL) installed at the server level to keep Google happy. This encrypts data traveling between the server and your visitor’s computer/device. To show site visitors that your site is secure, a security certificate displays a small padlock in the address bar of all browsers and adds https:// to the start of the web address.

Conclusion

If your business needs any assistance with implementing the various tips above to your website, please get in touch with the team at Tropical Coast Web Design. We’d be happy to help you get some Google love…

* The Google search algorithm is known as PageRank (named after Larry Page – one of the founders of Google). It is used by Google Search to rank web pages in their search engine results.

Five Home Page “Tricks” to lower your Bounce Rate.

Information Overload = High Bounce Rate = Poor Website Performance

Five "Tricks" to lower your Bounce Rate.In numerous blogs, books and forums, small business owners are told from the very beginnings of their online forays that content marketing is a must for a successful website. Any solid marketing advice will say “You must create FAQs, blog posts, videos, podcasts, Facebook feeds, how-to sheets, free e-books, Tweets and Pins for your site to REALLY connect with your target audience.” This is good advice, after all, Google loves fresh content and so do those visitors who return to your site.

But there is inherent danger with all this information – having been told to create it, some website owners get carried away. And, unfortunately, your website visitors may not appreciate this content as much as you do – especially if it is displayed to them all at once.

By this I mean, displaying it all on the very first page of a website – also known as the landing page.

If you overwhelm your visitors as soon as they arrive on your site, you may find that this overload of information result in a “Bounce Rate”*. 

The key to solving this problem is to remember this simple point at all times: your site visitors have arrived at your site seeking only one of two things, information and engagement. Think back to any site that you have ever visited – you have sought out those sites out to either find out more about the business and their services/products or, engage them in further conversation (which can take many forms) to potentially make a purchase.

So how do we avoid information overload on key pages of your website?

Try to keep information in line with the five basics of a good home page:

1. A catching headline that includes your keywords.

If you are a plumber in Innisfail, use a title liked “Professional Plumbing Services – Innisfail.” Keep Google happy by staying under its preferred title length which is 70 characters.

2. A solid sub headline paragraph (or two) that briefly describes who you are and what you do.

Visitors love a story so you could also talk about what you can do for them but don’t get use jargon, remember to apply the K.I.S.S.* principle here.

3. Display your immediate contact information in the top right hand corner of the page.

If you want people to ring you, show the phone number in a large font. If you prefer emails, show the email address. Remember to keep it all mobile friendly by ensuring that both of these can be clicked/tapped.

4. Make your Call to Action very clear.

In most cases, this is what you prospective customers will be looking for so make it STAND OUT! Don’t make customers search for your latest deals or booking forms, make them so obvious that a blind person could find them.

5. Everyone loves a good slideshow (that’s why every site these days has one).

But don’t just use it to display pretty pictures – make it part of your marketing plan. Make it part of your HOOK* to immediately engage your visitors.

Get those things right on the front page and everything else is superfluous – put the extra information on other pages. Use your navigation effectively and your visitors can find it if they want to dig further.

With the advent of Content Management Systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, there is the ability to create a multitude of cascading pages for your website so there is no excuse for not using this to your advantage.

Keep the front page of your small business site clean and simple using the five items above and monitor your Google Analytics. Done effectively, you will watch that bounce rate drop away as your prospective customers come and, most importantly, stay.

* the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.

* K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple Stupid

* a hook, which is a short phrase or jingle designed to entice a customer to purchase a product or sign up for a service.

Three Steps to help get your new website noticed.

After months of planning, preparation and development, your website “baby” is now taking its first faltering steps into the vastness of the World Wide Web. Like any proud parent wants of their children, you want the best for your website – you want it to go out and achieve to the best of its potential.

Get your new site noticedBut it can’t – not on its own. Not without help.

A successful website takes a whole load of effort, strategy and guidance to attain the lofty goals that you have set for it. It takes patience and time to hook into that target audience that is searching for your business. A newly launched website is just one single entity – floating in the vastness of the internet. A void that is likely filled with many similar websites, just like yours, all craving the attention of the same critical audience.

How are they going to find yours?

With the baby steps below, you can set your newly-launched business website on the right path and make it visible to the audience that is searching for what you have to offer.

Step 1 – Get Your Site listed with Google

This one is a must because Google won’t list your site automatically at launch. You (or your web developer) need to bring the new website to Google’s attention using one of the two following methods:

  1. Manually add the URL of the new site by visiting the Google Search Console https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en and submitting it via the “official” channels.
  2. A more cunning way to gain Google’s attention is to display a link to the website on another site that has already been indexed (visited) by the Googlebot. When the Bot next sweeps by for a visit, it will pick up the new link and, voila, you’ll be added to the index.

Be aware that listing on Google can take anywhere from 24 hours to four weeks but you can speed up the process with a little more exposure…

Step 2 – Engage in “Off Page” SEO

Off-page SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to methods that you can use to promote your site outside the pages of your website. Two of the most popular methods are Link Building and Social Media Marketing.

Linking Building involves getting other websites to link to your site (these are known as inbound links). So long as these sites are of a high quality and their content is relevant to your site, Google smiles upon this method and its search algorithm may give your site a boost in the rankings.

Note that linking from any old site is not recommended and can have the opposite effect on the rankings – you can even get blacklisted if Google really doesn’t like what you have done.

Social Media Marketing is exactly as it sounds. Using the various social platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc), promote and share the content of your site with your audience of followers. Each post/link to your site that is shared by this audience is seen favourably in the eyes of the GoogleBot.

Step 3 – On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the use of various tactics within the content of your website’s pages. This can include using key words that your audience may use as part of the text, ensuring that all images have an ALT tag attached and using internal/external links to establish connections with other content that the search engines may already know about.

If you are using WordPress as the framework for your site, install either the “Yoast SEO” or All-in-One SEO plugins and they will work through wizards to help set up your on-page SEO.

Conclusion

These three steps are only the first steps along path to gaining real traction with your website. Once the GoogleBot has found and ranked your small business website, you will need to monitor which tactics are working best for you. In addition, you must keep your content fresh and update to date and constantly monitor your website analytics. Know where your traffic is coming from, what pages they like to visit and what they use to find your website in the first place.

If you need assistance getting your site a little more Google-friendly, please get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design. We’ll take a look at your currently “set-up” and help you implement the changes needed to get the most out of your site.

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.

 

Tropical Coast Web Design