Monthly Archives - August 2016

Common problems and issues with websites

Website Audits

In the course of many website audits we discover problems with websites that happen time after time, so we believe it would be useful to give some examples of classic problems.

Despite the fact every website is individual and the mix of issues differs from site to site what follows are some of the more typical problems and issues we discover during numerous website audits.

A website owner ought to consider the top part of each web page as prime real-estate. The portion of the web page that appears before a person needs to scroll down the page. One typical problem we find is how the top of a web page is wasted.

Typically the main issue is the header graphic at the top of the page inhabiting too much of the page and another issue is regularly the images used don’t add anything to give the visitor a suitable impression of what the site is about, or what’s on offer.

Images should be used that deliver the right message to the person landing on your website. Using glamorous graphics and abstract pictures is fine if you want to show off the talents of your web designer.

“As a website owner you should be apprehensive about what all this
imagery really says to a person about your website and your products or services”

Using pictures and graphics that has not been optimized by your website designer to use on a website is also a typical issue with most websites we audit. What this means is, the file sizes of the imagery on the website are much larger and increases the page load time.

“Optimized pictures mean quicker page loading for a visitor and search engine, improved visitor retention and reduced bounce rate”

Hyperlinks within the page content should also be easily acknowledged as links. What we often find is that site-wide navigation or embedded links within the page content are often camouflaged and appear to the visitor as normal text until the visitor hovers their mouse over the words.

While proficient web users know where to expect to find site-wide navigation, which can therefore be accepted as being “disguised” the same is not true of links within page text content.

“Site-wide navigation should be simply recognized and Link text within the page should be standard underlined blue whenever possible”
Many websites we audit fail to make appropriate use of page titles and descriptions. The page title and meta description used in the top HTML header of every page is essential to Google and other major search engines like Bing and Yahoo.

Google in particular makes regular use of the page title and meta description of each webpage in their search listings. It is therefore extremely important to note the right formatting of page titles and listings for Google, which displays no more than 65 characters in the title and 156 characters in the meta description.

Since these are character display restrictions in search results, it’s also imperative to make good use of this in what you say about each web page. This will be read by people who will decide whether to visit your page or not based on your listing title and description.

Another typical issue we find with page titles and descriptions is that the same ones are used on multiple pages. This is particularly true on ecommerce and shopping cart sites. The search engines, Google in particular, do not like duplicate page titles and descriptions.

“Page titles and descriptions should be Google compliant, unique on each web page, meaningful and inviting for visitors to click-through to your website”

Almost all websites have key web pages that are particularly important to the success of the site, for example sales or product pages and sign-up pages. A website should funnel as many persons to those key pages as possible.

“Key pages must have the most links pointing to them from the site’s other pages”

What we frequently find in website audits is the most important pages to the site owner are not the ones that have the most incoming links. With fewer links to key pages the person has less chance of finding these key pages.

The problem is generally caused by the way the web designer has designed the site-wide navigation for the website causing most links to point to non-essential pages like About us, a Contact Page, a Sitemap or a Privacy Policy.

“Avoid too many links to non-essential pages it weakens web Page Rank (PR)”

Where a site owner has identified key landing pages on their site for a website audit a typical issue we find is that very little seems to have been done to optimize these key landing pages.

Typical issues are:

  • No obvious headline or sub-headline
  • No clear or direct indicator of what the web page is about
  • Too many links and diversions on the web page
  • No strong flow of content from top to bottom of page
  • No individuality in the product or service being offered
  • No content that will form trust with the visitor
  • Order or sign-up process far too long

Many site owners seem to concentrate on getting visitor traffic to their website and then don’t use it effectively when it arrives. Having key pages un-optimized means low or less than optimal conversion rates.

“Poorly optimized pages don’t convert visitors very well
into actions the site owner wants”

 

 

 

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Marketing plan

Marketing plans have evolvedMarketing Plan

Many years ago marketing was reasonably straight forward and simple.  You would decide on your company’s objectives and create a marketing plan designed to achieve your goals.  Once the marketing plan was finalised that would be the company’s main focus of direction for the next few years.

Now day’s managers need to be more diverse when it comes to planning marketing strategies.  Yes managers and business owners still need to set clear objectives for their business but a marketing plan needs to be flexible so it can be adapted as new marketing practices are discovered.

It is common for businesses to have more than one marketing plan to help cope with multiple marketing channels.  For example you could have a traditional marketing plan, digital marketing plan and a social media marketing plan.

DLM Marketing plan

When DLM Marketing provide marketing strategies for clients we normally integrate all forms of marketing into the single marketing plan. The key to good marketing is well put together and achievable business objectives.  When you are deciding on what you want to achieve its best to set your target within range.  DLM Marketing has come up with these five points you should use as a guide when considering you goals and objectives.

  • Keep each goal clear and simple.
    DIY marketing plans

    Download your free DIY marketing plan template and guide now!

  • Be specific.
  • Be realistic.
  • Don’t be afraid to push yourself and think big.
  • Make sure that your goals are in sync with your mission.

Gather all the information you need. Effective marketing strategies depends on a complete and accurate understanding of your market, your customers, your financial situation, and your business environment.

If you don’t have a current plan it is something you should consider.  You can download a DIY marketing plan template for free from us or we can provide you with a price to do it for you.

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Start-up businesses

Start-up businesses

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 percent of small businesses fail within the first three years of starting up.  It is a daunting exercise going into business,  there are many reasons why a business might fail. One reason a lot of start-up businesses is poor marketing. It is important to get your marketing and branding strategy organised before you start trading.  With the internet most new business owners will attempt to market themselves.  They might use a simple drag and drop website builder, create a small social media network and maybe get some flyers printed out. Which is all good but most drag and drop website builders will limit what you can do. Particularly if you do not have knowledge of back end coding.  The site is also going to lack some very important SEO essentials.

Professional marketing adviceStart up businesses

Regardless on what product or service your business offers you should seek advice and guidance from a professional marketing company for the following points:

  • Business plan
  • Market research
  • Marketing plan (FREE DIY TEMPLATE)
  • Branding strategy
  • Marketing mix

We have put together several articles that can help you if you wish to do your own marketing.

The advantages of a professional marketing company

  • Seeking help from a professional marketing company will save you time and your business will benefit. By hiring a professional marketing company you will get to concentrate on the product or service you are offering while the marketing company is building your brand.
  • You get access to a range of professionals. A professional marketing company is not made up of one person they normally comprise of digital designers, copywriters, web developers etc.
  • Professional marketing companies already have the latest software used to produce essential marketing material.  The cost of purchasing and learning software packages would exceed the costs of hiring a professional marketing company.
  • Outsourcing to a professional marketing company means you will receive an outside perspective. One of the scariest things a business can say is, “We’ve always done it that way.” That phrase leads to surefire stagnation if not complete decay.

The question, isn’t if you can afford an experienced marketing company, but rather how much are you costing yourself in time, money and lost opportunity by trying to do your own marketing.

 

start-up businesses

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SEO Sharks – Don’t become a victim

SEO Sharks – Don’t become a victim

What you should know before hiring a SEO manager

Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you emails out of the blue.

Reserve the same scepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.

No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.SEO

Beware of Rogue SEO experts that claim to guarantee rankings, claim a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through the Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.

Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.

Ask for explanations if something is unclear. A rogue SEO expert creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.

You should never have to link to an SEO.

Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of “free-for-all” links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don’t affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines — at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.

What are some other things to look out for?

There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO service. It’s far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO provider:

  • owns shadow domains
  • puts links to their other clients on doorway pages
  • offers to sell keywords in the address bar
  • doesn’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages
  • guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
  • operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
  • gets traffic from “fake” search engines or spyware
  • has had domains removed from Google’s index or is not itself listed in Google
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