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We Review a Service Business Website

We pitched a client – we didn’t win.  And so I decided to show you all how we assessed their website in scoping out the work that is needed to improve the search engine optimisation for this company.

They offer a local service and have two principal products.

First impressions of the website

Hubspot, website assessment, website grader

Free appraisal offer for your website

Go to the Woorank checker or Website Grader tool on Hubspot.
Find out how your current site performs.  Both give you a score out of 100.  Easy to see your score.
This site scores 53 out of 100.  Definitely in the could-do-better group.

Summary areas for improvement

  1. Both the named services should be in your meta description
  2. The Headings structure needs adjusting so it includes H1 as well as H3 (currently all 4 are H2 which is not good)
  3. Change the SSL certificate from BlueHost to your own business name
  4. Incoming links are low – so we’d recommend getting local directory listings to improve this (there are 36 free ones)
  5. You should be on Google My Business as well because that will enable Reviews and a location pin to appear when people search

Improve website messaging

I think there’s some other places where a bit of clearer marketing communication could help
  • Strapline.  The name of the business does not describe what you do [I also provide sensational services – but of a different type]
  • Pearl Waterless is a strong point of difference for one of the services – but you don’t EXPLAIN it.
  • Plus it’s a “Green” product and you could be selling the environmental benefits.
  • One service page does not have any heading titles, it doesn’t have any testimonials and it doesn’t explain that you offer a mobile service
  • The other service page has a gigantic photo and doesn’t explain the service in detail compared to the other service page.  They should be similar – consistency matters.
  • You have a Facebook page but there’s no link to it on the site.  42 people have shared your website onto Facebook – but you aren’t tracking links like this.
  • Have you got any customer testimonials?
  • Have you got any photos of your ACTUAL Team doing the work?
  • Any funny stories to tell about your jobs? What about the Facebook photos you share – the team celebration – could these go on a blog on the website too?

Why would you change?

What’s important here is that the website owner sees a rapid return on investment for his marketing spend.
The areas where I believe we can show a quick ROI are the services descriptors and aligning them to search phrases, pulling out the points of difference.  And then making it super-easy for the site visitor to get in touch by phone.   That rapidly increases enquiries, the business owner feels his spend is justified.  Later we can get more sophisticated.
And so if you would like us to improve the SEO and re-write some of the pages, go to our shop and buy our SEO Starter Pack and then come into the office and we’ll prioritise, get started and tick off all these things for you.
2017 light trail fireworks art

January website checks you MUST make

It’s January – we are back from the Christmas break and many firms are still on a skeleton staff.  Some are back full time – but we’re all filled with the pressures of a new year – new marketing plans, new services, new products.

For most of us, we’ve already forgotten the marketing we did in December.  But we shouldn’t.

Because many websites are now inaccurate, out of date or just plain giving WRONG information.

Here’s a good example I called up today.  I got their “out of hours” telephone answering recorded message. It is past the 9th January and nobody’s home…. cooeee…..

Company contact information is wrong

Company contact information is wrong

So if you have a holiday closure message on your website – get that fixed up and corrected pronto.

Copyright dates on website footers are another culprit.  Some are obviously years out of date and others still say 2016

Website with date out of date

MOZ footer date out of date

It doesn’t have to be this way!

Automate publishing

Post Expirator Plugin for WP

Post Expirator Plugin for WP

Website CMS systems mostly offer automation services which allow you to set future dates to un-publish pages and posts.  Take a read of this explanation of how to “expire” a WordPress post using the WP Post Expirator plugin.  Set a future date at which the post will stop being visible – you can choose whether to return to draft or to delete the post.

Use code to update dates

Here is the code to insert into your footer to ensure that the copyright year automatically rolls over on January 1st.  Get it pasted into your website FAST.

<script type=”text/javascript”>

document.write(new Date().getFullYear());

</script>

Better marketing processes

Of course, fixing up your mistakes now is fine – but wouldn’t it be better to not have made them in the first place?

How about you set up reminders in your calendar to nudge you to manually remove or unpublish information?

Get those plugins and extensions installed so the work is done for you by machines.

Or pay an outsourced marketing consultant like Creative Agency Secrets to do it for you.

Happy new year – and if you’re in need of some marketing and new business year planning, come to our Auckland workshop on 26th January.

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

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 

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

What it means to Growth Hack.

Growth Hacking is a new phrase meaning to aggressively make a step-change in business success.  It’s not just a cute phrase, there are specific techniques which can make significant improvements to website success.

You define success and we’ll teach you how to make it happen.

What is your #1 marketing and sales problem?

Get the answers about how you can growth hack your web success with USA experts Dan Morris and Rachel Martin during May 2016.

Face to face consult or small group workshops.

Email [email protected] with your #1 marketing and sales problem.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

 

 

Be ahead of new traffic for your business creative agency secrets audience industries new zealand

Be ahead of new traffic for your business

There are millions of people around the globe who want what you have.

They just don’t know you exist yet.

We just need to stand in front of them. Because it’s not always easy for a guy in Timbuktu, Kalamazoo, Ahipara or Middlemarch to just stumble upon you. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t pursuing their dreams and goals without you.

They have gathered with others, in clusters around the internet.

That’s why Audience Industries created their Clusters Marketing Plan.

Have you strategised the year plan for your business? Your niche topics, your challenges, your product launches? Have you coordinated your social media marketing around these ideas?

But most importantly have you structured your marketing so you’re always standing in front of the people who don’t know you exist now?

Chances are: no. Because we all get caught up in the daily activities that run our business. It’s time to get organized! Where do you even begin?

Start Here –> Audience Industries: Clusters

You need to get your editorial, sales, and marketing calendar all sorted so you can get ahead of new traffic for your business. So gather up your ideas, grab a pencil and your calendar, because with the Clusters curriculum we’re going to look at your business, evaluate who your audience is, how to grow it, and plan your path to success.

For marketing specialists, in-house marketing managers and marketing directors, public relations agencies, digital marketing agencies, full service agencies alike, together let’s etch out your plan, analyse the steps and plot the route. It all starts with you and your business.

Down to the details!

Here’s what Audience Industries will cover in the Clusters curriculum:

  • Start: What is your audience learning? Who are they and what are they focused on? Let’s mine this info, find partners, and learn new ways to do things.
  • Module 1: Locate the places and audiences where your message is welcome and put them on your marketing calendar
  • Module 2: Put all your notes and ideas you’ve made over the years, do the keyword research and trend analysis, and build your launch around them!
  • Module 3: Plan joint ventures into your schedule for the friends in your business niche and get both your audiences to grow.
  • Module 4: Find out what your audiences needs and wants, build it and work strategically through your marketing and editorial calendar.
  • Module 5: Don’t get wrapped up in the wrong keyword research tool. Go after the keywords you can win.
  • Module 6: 80% of your revenue stems from 20% of your efforts: find out what that 20% is and do more of it to increase your revenue.
  • Module 7: Plot the offers you’re going to make throughout the year against the demand and be smart about it-put it in your calendar!
  • Module 8: Put everything together in one place. Make room for lead time, pre-sales, pre-launch, follow-up, upsells and coordinate with your content, keywords, audience, hashtags and offers.

By the time you have completed the Clusters curriculum, you’ll have your editorial, sales, and marketing calendar set up for the whole year! You’ll be ahead of the game, just watching your new traffic take the route you pre-planned for them. Amazing!

If you haven’t been following the Audience Industries digital trail…

THE Audience Industries is coming to New Zealand and we’ve been writing all about it. They’ll be trailblazing their way across the north and south islands, spreading knowledge about how to turn your online business into a revenue generating machine. Four curricula in all, four cities, and eight days to learn how to kick your business into gear online:

  1. Sequoia – the place to begin your website marketing.  Suitable for website administrators, marketing staff and newcomers to online and digital communications. [1 May Auckland, 3 May Dunedin, 5 May Wellington]
  2. Circles – audience engagement is the only way to keep visitors coming back to your website.  What to do, how to do it and when to do it.  Suitable for marketing communication managers, public relations, agency marketers and anyone who has done the Sequoia curriculum. [4 May Dunedin, 6 May Wellington, 9 May Auckland]
  3. Clusters – once you know the techniques from Sequoia and Circles, put it into practice in a strategic year plan.  Suitable for marketing specialists, in-house marketing managers and marketing directors, public relations agencies, digital marketing agencies, full service agencies. [10 May Auckland]
  4. Escape Velocity – designed for entrepreneurs and startups, this course pulls together everything you need to drive revenue for your business from online/offline integration.  Suitable for both bootstrapping startups and established enterprise who have a goal to grow and then sell their business. [29 April Auckland]

With these curricula combined you can be the CEO of your website. Get your tickets booked now.

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

How well do you really know your audience?

Do you know what their interests are, what they want and need? Sure, we’d like to think it’s all about us and our brand. But there are strategies to reach your audience in a way that will get them engaged in you and your brand that goes beyond the surface of what you think they want from you. There are tried and true ways for you to know your audience better.

What’s your common denominator?

Find out what you have in common with your audience so you can be the brand that they trust. Engage them to keep them coming back to you. If you’re a marketing communication manager, in public relations, an agency marketer or have done the Audience Industries Sequoia curriculum, you should understand what to do, how and when you need to to make sure your audience comes back to you… every time.

Get to know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Audience Industries is coming to a town near you in May and are bringing Circles with them. Really good news for you. The course is broken up into 7 modules that will help you to really get to know your audience. Audience Industries wants to show you how to bring your audience to you, over and over again. Keep them coming back by speaking their language, learning their paths and optimize your ads to deliver maximum value for your site. Because we know, it’s all about the money.

Here’s what’s in store for you if you sign up for Circles:

  • Module 1: Learn what your audience has in common with you
  • Module 2: Be the brand/business that your audience trusts
  • Module 3: Find out what your audience wants and needs
  • Module 4: Break down the elements of compelling stories and apply them to YOUR story
  • Module 5: Understand what makes your audience take actions on your site and use the information for good
  • Module 6: Get the strategies that create likes, clicks, shares… real engagement on your social media channels
  • Module 7: What you should know before you optimize your ads

Sound like something your business needs?

We thought it might. That’s why founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin are bringing Audience Industries to New Zealand for the second time. The Circles curriculum is coming to these big NZ cities this May, so book your tickets now while there’s still time:

It’s not just the Circles curriculum that’s coming to town.

If you think the Circles curriculum is good… you’re right! But Audience Industries has 3 other curricula that we think you should take a look at, too, to help you grow your business in an online world. Read more about the Audience Industries NZ Tour from Creative Agency Secrets to see just what else you can learn from Dan and Rachel. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to grow you business revenue online! Book your tickets for a city near you now.