To celebrate our tenth year in business...
Here are our top 10 tips on how to succeed with your website...
Tip 1 Make sure you have good photos on your website
Truth is... it's the same laptop! So photography is important!!
This does *not* mean you need a professional photographer or an expensive camera if you don't have the budget for one (although if you do, even better). The main thing that's important to understand about photography for websites are two key components; lighting and setting.
Lighting: A camera is just a device that captures light. Whether you have a camera from 100 years ago, or a modern camera-phone, there really is little different in the science. So if you take your photo in a dark setting (as per my first example), then the photo is going to struggle. So make sure you have got decent lighting. Do your best to make sure you have natural daylight or some kind of artificial lighting. Artificial lighting can include just turning the lights in your kitchen or office on, or could include more expensive solutions light professional camera spot lights.
Setting: Image sells. The background of a picture, or its surroundings are just as likely to sell as the item photographed itself. One of our clients even said that they've sold items in photographs that weren't originally for sale. Make sure the setting of your photo is in context, and makes whatever you're promoting or selling look as good as possible.
And an important note about fancy and expensive cameras... Buying an expensive camera will not mean your pictures are better. In fact, it can mean the opposite. The first and most important steps are those mentioned above.
Tip 2 Keep an eye on your website statistics
Understanding where your visitors are coming from, which pages on your website they're looking at, where they're getting lost, and what they do and don't like is key to success.
We can integrate your site with Google Analytics so you can keep an eye on where your customers are coming from, what they're looking at, and what they like most, so you can use your site to promote what sells and works best and is liked the most.
Should you need it we can also provide training on how to get the most out of Google Analytics.
Tip 3 Get your site made "responsive"
Even if your website is "mobile friendly" it doesn't mean it is "responsive". The term "responsive website" is relatively new but is becoming pretty much standard for websites created these days (well, at least the ones of the quality we provide anyway!). What "responsive" means is that the webiste adjusts and resizes itself to the size of device it's being used on. So if you're looking at a site on a mobile or tablet, then the website adjusts itself to that size screen. This is better than a standard website as it means the visitor doesn't have to zoom in and out and scroll around furiously to browse your website. it's a proven method for creating more sales, enquiries, results, and keeping visitors on your website.
As a general rule, responsive websites have only existed for 2 years. So if your website is older than this, chances are it's not responsive and you're missing out!!
Tip 4 Hyphens in a domain name are bad for Google rankings
Do-you-have-hyphens-in-your-website-address? If so this could be costing you visitors to your website. Research over years proves time and time again that having a hyphen in your website address will result in lower rankings in Google, and result in less visitors to your website.
Tip 5 Make sure you secure all versions of your domain names so that the competition doesn't!
Do you have all relevant versions of your website address? Let's say your company is Joe Bloggs clothing. Do you have joebloggs.com, joebloggs.net, joebloggs.clothing, and all other variations? If not then the competition could be buying them up! Make sure you don't let this happen!
In 2013 and 2014 lots of new domain names are being made available. This includes names ending in .food .gift .boutique .company and more! So make sure you obtain everything relevant to your business before someone else does! It can also be great for marketing, or look great on a business card!
Tip 6 It's not just what you do, it's *why* you do it. Follow Apple's example
Ever wondered just why Apple are so successful? Or have you just come to accept it?
Well it's not just luck... it's why they do what they do
Take us for example. We don't just build great websites, we believe the web should make people's lives easier. This is the reason that we run our business and that our clients love us, not just because we like building great websites and we strive to excel at it.
So make sure you understand your "why", not just your "what" you do, and "how" you do it. People and customers will buy into this. Watch this great video from Ted.com's "Ideas Worth Spreading" website. Click here if you want to know more
Tip 7 Links are like money... the idea is to collect as many as possible, not give them away! More links to your web site helps with your Google rankings
Want to appear at the top of Google? Understand the rules about links!
Many website owners think that if they put links to other people's websites they'll get to the top of Google. Wrong! Links are like money... the idea is to collect as many as possible, not give them away! So get other website owners to link to your website in reciprocation to the link you're giving them. More links to your web site helps with your Google rankings
Tip 8 Be visual first
Visitors to a website don't read lots of text. People are impatient so a highly visual, easy to navigate website will produce results. If you're a writer or like to express youreself this isn't a problem, just make sure the visuals are the things that people see first and intice your visitors to read what you have to say.
Tip 9 Don't force music upon your visitors!
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big music lover. However research over the past 10 years by dozens and dozens of organisations and individuals has conclusively proved that having music play without visitors asking for it to play is a big, massive, huge "no no"!
Tip 10 Avoid WordPress, Joomla, Expression Engine and Magento
Why you *shouldn't* use WordPress, Joomla, Expression Engine or Magento for your website
a) All of these platforms have limits. If you have a particular requirement and the platform you're using can't do it, then you have to start again and get something created bespoke. To save the hassle, just get a website created properly in the first place
b) These are semi-amatuer platforms, and used by web designers without the ability to build websites properly themselves
c) A huge amount of our clients have come to us with a website based on one of these platforms because they've hit a brick wall with it. They've spent thousands on their website and then had no choice but to start again and have it done properly. Just because these platforms are cheap (or free) doesn't mean it won't cost you in the long run.
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