7 Ways to Make Your Website Relevant

Is your website consistently driving results for your business? Is it adaptive to changes on the web? With rapid advances in website technology, design and function have evolved, bringing a new set of expectations to your visitors. With these expectations and advanced features ultimately affecting the success of the business online, being able to respond effectively is essential.

We’re not saying a complete rebuild of your website is necessary every 12 months, but minor tweaks, layout improvements and updated content are just a few ways to keep your website fresh! The needs of your website, or at least how people use it, will likely change throughout its life. Being able to respond to that change is essential for maintaining customer engagement.

It can be a daunting process. To make it easier, we have created a list of suggestions to ensure you unlock your website’s potential.

7 ways to keep your website relevant

1. Build your site on a Content Management System (CMS) – such as WordPress, Drupal, SquareSpace.

This is single-handedly the most important piece of advice for a business with limited web-dev resources. An advanced CMS platform offers huge freedom to customise content, compared to one that was hard-coded. You can easily swap bits in and out, and if you have a decent understanding of the system, make simple changes to the whole visual layout, without having to spend hundreds (or thousands) hiring a developer. Most CMS platforms offer an intuitive interface which removes the need to learn HTML too. This can be a real time saver, if maintaining the site is not your fulltime priority!

With an increasing number of web visits coming from mobile devices, ensuring your site is responsive to different screen sizes is absolutely essential too. Many CMS platforms offer mobile responsiveness. If yours isn’t, you’re already way behind the game!

2. Observe how your visitors use your website

Analytical tools such as Google Analytics + Search Console provide an incredible amount detail and invaluable insights as to how people are actually interacting with your site. Goal tracking, a powerful feature of Google Analytics analyses the effectiveness of particular product channels and sales conversions. Set up correctly, it makes it easy to pinpoint where customers are dropping off or what is triggering purchases. This helps to outline where you can improve your sales channels to maximise conversion success.

Analytical software allows you to observe a range of other insightful trends too: Are there large blocks of text that are being ignored? Are your visitors finding what they are looking for? How far down the page are they viewing before losing interest? Thanks to tools like SumoMe and Crazy Egg, we can gain a much deeper understanding of how visitors are using our website. If nobody pays attention to that beautiful full width banner, is it worth having?

Making your site as easy as possible for visitors to use is essential for ensuring they become customers. The likes of Google Analytics are free to use, and most paid versions of software offer free or limited period trial versions. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be looking into them!

3. Interpret and respond to your analytics

If the majority of your traffic is ignoring your featured product, swap it for something else! If they are searching for an FAQ, make sure it is clearly visible from the homepage! Are visitors dropping off before they reach your call to action further down the page? What can you change to ensure they all see it? If they aren’t scrolling through, it is time you spent some time reworking your site’s layout.

4. Make sure your audience can find you

A lot of the work here comes back to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Are you using the right keywords for your brand/offering? What words are people using to find your product/service? How do you rank in searches? One way to influence these variables is through regular, targeted content. Publishing blog articles or (even better) video material is an easy way to give visitors a reason to keep coming to your site. This in turn, boosts the value of your SEO. Don’t stress if you can’t maintain a schedule of posting each day either. If you have a big catalogue of material, drip feed it out over the course of the year. Maintaining a steady rhythm is far better than dumping 20 articles all at once. Consistency is the key here!

5. Do the words on your site clearly describe what you do?

It’s one thing to write for the Google bots that will crawl your site and determine where to show you on search, but at the end of the day, decisions are made by humans. If your visitors are browsing your website desperately wondering what it is exactly that you do, chances are they are going to move on pretty quickly. No amount of keywords will help if your message doesn’t make sense. If you don’t have the time or the confidence to write your own copy, it’s highly worth getting someone to do it for you.

6. Give your visitors a reason to trust you

Real life testimonials from customers who have actually purchased or worked with you can make or break the decision to buy from you. There are a number of places where these can come from – Social Media pages such as your Facebook page or your Google My Business page are just two, but there’s nothing stopping you from replicating them on your website (with their permission of course!). Displaying customer logos (if your work is B2B) is a great way to showcase your brand’s credibility.

7. Make it easy for your visitors to take action

Whether that action is in the form of purchasing something from your website or filling out a contact form, it’s absolutely vital that you make it as easy as possible. The less hoops prospective customers have to jump through to get what they want, the more inclined they will be to take action. If you have hyperlinked text as your call to action, consider substituting it for a big eye-catching button. The call to action is the main objective of your page, why hide it?

If you are not sure what is and isn’t working, or if you know your website needs a bit of a touch-up, talk to us – we are the experts!

Tell us what your goals are: traffic or sales

What’s the best way to get more paying customers?

Write your new business development year plan with Creative Agency Secrets

The answer, is a new business development plan.  That’s a month by month chart of marketing promotion activities.  It includes proactive marketing that builds up your business profile which leads to enquiries which become sales.  It’s a continuous cycle.

Join us for in a business development planning workshop on November 12th 2016 to write your own plan.  

This workshop is for business owners and managers who are responsible for finding new clients and growing revenues.  It will show you the practical, tried and tested techniques that the Creative Agency Secrets team uses for its clients.

You will learn:

  1. How to create a unique company profile.
  2. A check list of marketing activities .
  3. New business pipeline analysis and tracking template.
  4. What you need to do to get better known in your industry.
  5. Learn relationship building for getting and keeping long term clients.
  6. How to spot opportunities for new business sales.
  7. The business process that delivers leads.
  8. What to measure to track progress.

Each attendee will take home a high level plan for their business – planned through the year with month by month activities.

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Don’t take our word for it…

“I thought it was great, enlightening and thoroughly enjoyed the ideas. I also appreciated all the little things that can be done and those things that don’t take money but have a big impact. It was great and I thoroughly would recommend it to all business owners looking to expand business online.” Julie Soboil, co-owner, Hushamok

The business sessions with you were very good – reinforced my thinking but was given expert and very helpful and thoughtful information for me to digest. Although I am very aware of the importance of social media, I also realise that I am behind in using it so need to make time to get up to speed.” Helen Mitchell, Managing Director, Anti-aging World

Can I join the class?

Sure thing – we have 6 places available.

Price: NZ $500.00 + GST

Venue: Studio 74D France Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland 1010

Date: November 12th from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm.

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Hanging Gardens home page

Your home page is failing its purpose

I had to write to a client recently to tell them that their home page was failing.  It was not delivering value, it was not doing its job and was actively causing problems for the business.  And this made me realise that few businesses understand the job a home page does.

Hanging Gardens home page

Hanging Gardens home page

What should a good home page design do?

If you are an online shop, the home page has the job of showing the specials for the month or new product lines.  It is often a straightforward design to implement. 

If you are a software company, the home page is usually a sales page promoting and explaining your principal products.

But most business websites have a different challenge, especially those who do not sell by ecommerce.  They have had a website for a few years; they may have had a couple of redesigns and the business website has probably grown to tens, hundreds or thousands of pages over this period.  The priorities of the business shift over time and the website home page needs to support the new business goals and objectives. 

This throws up questions

  1. How often should I change my home page?
  2. Should the home page have all the information about the business?
  3. What should the home page prioritise?

The job of a website home page is to get the visitor to her destination in as few clicks as possible.

Why do visitors come?

Your entire website comprises a heap of different information, advice, products and services and a visitor may be interested in all, one or none of them.  So how can you guess what the latest web visitor wants? 

This is where intelligent home page design comes in. 

Home page as sign post

The principal task of the home page is to signpost the visitor FAST to where she wants to go.  So let’s work out what this means for your website.

Go to your web analytics account and find two reports created from your actual visitor traffic this year.  These are

a) the pages visitors went to on the site.  This shows which are the most popular

b) the search queries people typed into Google which had your website showing up in search results (this comes by linking Search Console to Google Analytics – here’s how to set it up).

Your job is to line up b) with a) so we get the maximum number of people coming to the site and getting quickly to the exact page they are looking for.

Designing for Destination

You now know the top two to five pages on your website (after the home page itself).  I’m going to offer some advice here which will help you brief your designer on the changes you need to make to your home page. 

Firstly – simplify the main menu.  Can you remove any of the top menu items?  Give the visitor as few choices as possible, stay focused on those top destination pages.  Can you reduce your menu to 5 options?  (Home, About, Contact Us plus 2 others?).  Can you remove sub-menus or drop-downs?  We advised Armour Safety to put icon images of their popular product groupings on a side menu; ordered by popularity.  Clicks followed immediately we made the change.

Secondly – highlight popular destination pages in the home page design.  Make it very obvious in the home page design elements what these are.  You can use images, boxes, icons, buttons, large text – all are useful devices to focus attention. By repeating these popular destinations in the home page design and the top menu, you increase the chances that the visitor will choose an already popular pathway.  Coxmate.com.au now does not show its products on the main menu – they send visitors direct to the shop which has its own home page and details all the categories.  Similarly, Apartment Specialists has 3 buttons on the home page, I’m Buying; I’m Selling and I want a Valuation.  All three are on their menu, but the buttons make it easier for visitors to quickly decide where to click.

Thirdly – you have to reinforce the already popular page destinations – this may sound counter-intuitive.  Don’t try and encourage traffic to pages that are not already popular i.e. double down your bets on the well-performing pages.  This is the 80:20 rule in action.  For the visitor who does want something unusual if they cannot find it from your menus, be sure to make it very clear how to get in touch to ask the question. 

So go check how your home page is performing in its duty as a sign post – and don’t be afraid to make changes iteratively – one small change at a time so you can measure the effect before altering other elements.

We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 1 – State your Business.

Click on the icon to see more posts in that category.

8 step new business process. Step 1 Who are you?

This article first appeared in Marketing Online Magazine 

8 ways to promote local businesses

Our exclusive video of 20 minutes of pure ideas and stimulation about how to promote your business locally:

 

 

Ghost Street interactive agency

Building Trust with Clients

New clients take a bit of work – you have to work hard to get to know them and they you.

Ghost Street interactive agency

Ghost Street logo

Having been part of the BizDojo community we were lucky to meet a host of great folks in the co-working space on K Road.

So it’s always a delight when we get to re-connect in the interests of client work.

Not only does it look good to be able to say “we know them already” but it builds trust with both parties and also some strong marketing too.

Nice work, Tim Dawson of Ghost Street and fun to be collaborating.

Networks of networks

Which makes me think about questions I have had this past fortnight about the networks which work for me and where and how I find them.

Challenging – because when I moved to Auckland I knew few people. So here are the ones which I find useful for meeting smart folks who think, challenge, may become clients and have good things which I’m interested in hearing others talk about….

Which are your go-to meetings, groups and influencers? Please add to the list.

 

We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile RaisingStep 5 – Relationship Development and Step 6 – Opportunity Spotting.

Click on each icon to see more posts in that category.

Symbol for profile raising as part of new business developmentSymbol for relationship developmentSymbol for creating new business opportunities

policies

When having clear policies is a marketing advantage

This week I’ve had two clients get frustrated by media comments which did not allow a talk-back response.

Our solution?

Set up your company policies and publicise them.

Why policies are a point of difference

In both cases, bloggers and journalists were doing their job and calling out the client brand on key issues.

Professional disagreements are normal.

By stating your position on key issues, your brand can become better known and also has the ability to influence the way the whole industry thinks on these points.

How to market using your policies or principles

  1. Create a page where you list your principles.  e.g. We believe in transparency and not charging markups [that happens to be true for Creative Agency Secrets].
  2. Create a menu link to the page
  3. When a blogger or journalist contests a situation, write your answer on your blog. Also, write it in the comments on their site if you can.
  4. In writing your answer, refer to your principles/policies and link through to that page on your site.
  5. Create categories in your blog that relate to each principle e.g. transparency; fair pricing
  6. Also, make icons so each has a clear visual image associated with the principle – this helps readers further identify with each principle – you can link from each icon to the category in the blog so that case studies and examples can be read in more detail.
  7. Be prepared to stand by your principles and to be called out by media.

As an example, we use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile Raising.Symbol for profile raising as part of new business development