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Planning your new site for SUCCESS

Planning your new site for SUCCESSI’ve lost count of the number of times that a new business client has contacted me and said “I decided it was about time that I got a website. I mean, everyone else has got one!” That’s it – that one statement sums up their entire thought process about hiring a professional web designer to produce what could be a very lucrative part of the business’s marketing strategy. That’s generally when I, as the web designer, pull up the reigns and say “Steady on – let’s have a better look at this before we dive on in!”

If you are in the market for a new website, there are a few considerations that you must take in to account before even talking to a web designer.

Be clear on what you want to achieve with your website

Some businesses simply want a web presence so that their physical services can be found (who looks in the Yellow Pages anymore?) Others may look to the web as an additional source of sales through the integration of an online store. Some may just want a place to provide service and support to their customers. Maybe you want to achieve all three? Grab a pen and paper and jot down some notes about the whole purpose for your new website existence. Why are you doing this?

A good website cannot be built overnight

Gone are the days where a website was a simple online version of your company brochure. A fully functional site is comprised of many components, some of which include the visual design, the CMS framework, SEO infrastructure, online commerce tools and backup systems. All of these parts take time to build but most importantly, they take to time to test and fine-tune. If your designer promises this overnight, it’s probably best to look for another designer.

Your Web Designer should be treated like a professional.

Everyone knows someone who has built their own website but just because your nephew built a site for his school assignment, that does not make him a web designer. With all the skills required to make a functional site with the necessary integrated components, a good web designer has honed their skills over many years. You need to trust them to do their best work for your business – and they (generally) will. After all, the future success of their business is dependent on the success of your site – if they do a rubbishy job for you, who else would want to hire them.

A new site never has guaranteed traffic.

As I have mentioned on a number of blog posts, you cannot expect to simply build a site and it will be automatically successful. It won’t appear on Google for a couple of weeks at best so you will need to put in the initial hard yards and get traffic to the site. You need to fill it with quality content and let those in your industry and target audience be aware of its existence. Even then, it will take time to build a following and you, as the business owner, need to be ready for this lull from the beginning. Plan out what you can do once your web designer hands you the “keys”. If you don’t have the time, elect an employee to do the task of web management, if possible.

Right from the get-go, take the time to plan out where you want to go with your new website and what type of end result will be better for your business. Of course, no one can be expected to have all the answers. Once you have chosen a web designer to build your site, hit them up with the hard questions to help formulate a successful web strategy.

Disaster! My site has disappeared from Google!

Disaster StrikesIt’s every website owner’s worst nightmare – sitting down at the computer one day, typing your business name into Google and – BAM – the site’s not there in the search results! Frantically, you scan through page after page to no avail, it has completely disappeared. What has happened?

Although this sounds like a worst-case scenario, unfortunately it does happen (very) occasionally. And as 63% of site traffic is driven through the Google portal, it can have a devastating effect on the businesses involved. Especially if those businesses are reliant on web traffic for survival.

If this does happen to you, before you even consider anything else in this article, make sure you go to google.com and try the site: prefix with your site name (for example site:rustymangodesign.com.au). This will allow you to determine whether your site is still on the Google Search index or if it has been removed altogether.

Causes

There are a myriad of reasons that a site can disappear from Google, ranging from very simple errors and problems right through to black-banning by the search giant for dubious SEO practices. Some of these reasons include:

  • Lack of SEO love from the site owner. They’ve created a site and done nothing else with it. No promotion, no linking and very little or no new content.
  • Article Spinning. This practice involves using regurgitated content from other websites and Google absolutely hates this – it only loves fresh, new content. Article spinning often involves automatic generators that simply change small sections of text so that the content does not look directly plagiarised from its source.
  • Link building cheats. This generally involves third-party businesses that “guarantee” rankings by creating links through a large network of internet sites called “Link Wheels” or a “Link Pyramids.”
  • Keyword Stuffing. A website is filled with content and the same keywords are repeated throughout that content over and over again. It reads terribly, makes your content look cheap and Google doesn’t like it. It nearly always raises a red flag and Google loves to take action against those flags.

Solutions

Luckily, unless you’ve been really naughty, all it takes is some time and effort to fix this “little” problem. Sit down at your computer and start “cranking” out some decent original content that is not stuffed to the gills with keywords. Write a blog like this one (topics are easier to come by than you think), announce new store arrivals or simply upgrade your imagery – don’t forget to tag those images!

Look at the results that are coming in on the first page of Google Search for your desired keywords. Normally, Yellow Pages and Local Search directories are up there in the #1 and #2 positions. If you are listed with them, contact each and make sure that your website address is on their listings too.

Contact your suppliers and customers that have web pages and set up reciprocal links – I’ll link to you and you link to me. Make sure that you are in similar industries as Google looks favourable on this.

Finally, after all is said and done, your site could simply go missing due to a change in the complex algorithm that controls our search results. Google is a private company and wants to remain at the top of its game, making money for its shareholders. To do this, they keep “fine-tuning” the way that search results are ranked and ordered. Your site may simply not “stack” up against the new algorithm, yet. In this case, keep working on that fresh content and the remainder should take care of itself.

Mobile Websites and Mobile Apps – do I need both?

Mobile Websites and Mobile Apps – what are they?With the continued growth and expansion of mobile internet, it is imperative that in 2015, all small businesses must have a mobile presence. According to online statistics group, Comscore, mobile internet officially overtook desktop usage in 2014 for the first time.

http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

However this doesn’t mean that everyone is accessing mobile websites – there is another choice. The mobile app is becoming prevalent in the market and it is very important to distinguish between mobile apps and mobile websites in order to make the correct choice for your business.

What’s the difference?

Both work on handheld devices such as smart phones, iPads and tablets but their functions can be completely different.

A mobile website is exactly that – a regular website that converts for viewing on a mobile device.  Normally, the navigation will change so that buttons can be touched with a finger, text will enlarge to a point where it can be easily read and some components of the standard site may be removed to optimise the mobile viewing. The function remains the same as the regular site. The mobile website will deliver information, allow contact via various means and the user will be able to purchase goods online if it is an e-commerce website.

A mobile app is a software application that must be downloaded to be used. This means you will need to visit the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android) and download the app directly to your device.

Most smart phone and tablet users are using mobile apps already. A perfect example is the Domino’s Pizza app. Through your phone, you can choose a pizza to order and pay for it online. The app utilises your phone’s GPS and automatically chooses your nearest Domino’s store.

This example demonstrates that such an app would work perfectly for a larger style organisation that has many store fronts or outlets. Accommodation providers such as the Rydges hotel chain also have mobile apps to download – this allows business customers that frequently need accommodation to book their rooms with very little hassle.

Should my small business have a mobile site or a mobile app?

As shown above, mobile apps are used in very specific circumstances where an “operation” such as ordering pizza or booking accommodation is done frequently. If a visitor to your site needs only to “pop in and out” of your site occasionally for your services then they are unlikely to download an app to do so.

Due to this specific nature, mobile apps are also quite expensive to develop as no one app will be the same.

It’s vitally important that small businesses have a mobile responsive website – this acts as the main point of contact with your customers and will do the job of promoting and selling your small business online.  Whether your business would be further complimented by the addition of a mobile app depends entirely up to the type and scale of the business that you operate operating in.

If your business requires either a mobile responsive website or a mobile app, give Rusty Mango Design a call and we will create a free quote specifically detailed to your needs.

Why IS your business on Facebook?

Why IS your business on Facebook?Facebook is a powerful force in the online marketing world, easily second only to Google. You won’t find a member of Gen Y who isn’t using it and, over the past couple of years, Facebook’s “mature” user base has grown considerably.

This growth is continuing with the increasing use of the platform by businesses around the world. The general attitude towards FB is becoming “if you are in business, you must be on Facebook.”

But why? If your business is only doing Facebook because “that’s what the others are doing”, then you might just be wasting your time.

But a small business owner doesn’t have any time to waste!

You should only get into Facebook if you have established a real goal for doing so. Your particular business’ goal for entering the world of Facebook could be to:

Humanise your business and brand in the eyes of your customer.

Genuine interactions and their associated connections are integral to any form of Social Media and Facebook is no different. It allows a business to put a human face to a brand that people can actually relate to. Through Facebook, your business can engage in one on one conversation with customers, share tricks and tips about your industry or display your latest wares after a customer has bought them, encouraging others to do the same. These types of “relationships” with your customers, draws them closer to you and much more likely to use your services or purchase your products.

Get people talking about your business.

The average user has, on average, 130 Facebook friends to share with. Imagine what could happen if you could get in front of those 130. If your brand is compatible with these people and engages with them, they might just LIKE you as well!

If only ten from that number decide to LIKE you, pure mathematics shows that the growth of your exposure would be exponential (10 x 10 x 10 x 10…..). There is no other (free) marketing method that can match this. Facebook also has paid options that can expose your brand to even more around the globe.

Why IS your business on Facebook?Directly target your ideal demographic.

Facebook knows everything about you. In your profile, you have entered your location, age, hobbies, even your favourite brands in some cases. A user would be naive to think that Mark Zuckerberg only wanted this information to help you share with your friends. Zuckerberg wants this information so that his company can sell targeted advertising.

As a business with a little advertising cash to spend, this is a golden opportunity. With such detailed information on hand and using Facebook’s paid advertising, a business can market more directly than ever before. For example, if you wanted to target expectants mothers, aged between 20 and 25 who live on the Sunshine Coast, you can. Your business information, once you set up an advertising account with Facebook, will appear on the pages of your exact target audience.

Put your business in front of your customers every day.

Even if you don’t opt to pay for advertising on Facebook, once a (potential) customer has liked you, any posts that you make on your Facebook business page will automatically appear on their feed. Don’t abuse this by posting multiple items a day (which will lose your following) and you have a “friend” for life.

Continue to offer conversation and social interaction, build that relationship up and you have a client who won’t look elsewhere for your goods and services.  A branded Facebook page is a very powerful way to expand your audience and increase the overall awareness of your business online.

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design