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Three Key Reasons Why Fresh Content is critical for your website

Three Key Reasons Why Fresh Content is critical for your websiteThere is nothing more frustrating for a website visitor to come calling on a business site and find that the website is filled with out-of-date content.

Business prospects are instantly “turned off” any chance of actually becoming clients of the business and current clients will quickly become frustrated at the lack of online support for products and services.

In an age where consumers expect to have information available right at their fingertips, an out-of-date website with poor content could easily mean the difference between success and failure, both online and offline. Here’s three key reasons you should keep your website up to date and “fresh”:

Send the right message to your prospects

As the saying goes, “First Impressions Count”, and your prospects want to be impressed. An old website with content that is no longer relevant to them sends out the wrong message immediately and says to the prospective customer “we can’t be bothered to update our website and we put the same amount of effort into the rest of our business” (even though this may not be true).

Try to hook potential customers with engaging information, tutorials, videos, product demonstrations or free downloads all about the products or services that you want to sell them. This attention to detail will pay off in “bucket-loads” as they realise you are serious about what you do and that your business is the one they want to work with.

Provide your customers with the support they expect

Your current customers deserve to be looked after as well. You want them to return time and time again and this is possible with the 24/7 support that a well-structured website can give them. If they have problems outside (or inside) your business hours with your products or just need to find out how to use them effectively, your website can do this with downloadable how-to sheets, videos, customer forums and help desks.

In a generation where everyone is looking online for what they need – your website needs to be supportive environment where YOUR CUSTOMERS can get what they need – when they want it!

Google!

Not only is a freshly contented website good for impressing prospects and helping customers, it is also very good for the website itself. Google’s search ranking algorithm has a special fondness for sites with updated, relevant content, promoting sites with these higher on search results.

Once ranked, Google re-visits your site every few weeks and checks the content it finds against the content from its last visit. If it finds the same old information each time, you will see that your business website will begin to drop down in search rankings – possibly below that of your competitors.

A new article in your blog, added photos in a gallery or testimonials from customers are easy to add and make Google “happy” with your website.

As you can see, it isn’t too hard to keep your website “fresh”. Simply dedicate a few minutes each week (or day if you can) to adding new information that is relevant to the customers that you have and the ones you want to attract. Integrate a website content plan into your everyday business operations and reap the benefits as your online visitors begin to see your business as passionate, supportive and above all, operating with your finger on the pulse of your industry.

Five Key Signs that your Website might just need a Redesign.

This year, the humble website as we know it turns 27 years old.

Since scientist Tim Burners-Leigh created the first ever webpage in 1990 (that’s it on the right), billions of pages have been added to the World Wide Web that we now call the Internet. Dominated by hobbyists at first, small businesses were slow to catch on to the benefits of the online world however it is now seen as an absolute necessity.

Incredibly, some of those original pages still exist but it is no longer acceptable to set up a website and then forget about it. Your internet-savvy customers demand more. If your website is more than three years old, it is definitely time to take a good look at it, compare it against your competitors and determine whether it is working for or against your business. If your site is not performing, here’s some key pointers that indicate that your site might just need a redesign.

1. It looks like it belongs in the 90’s

In the early 90’s, internet speeds were very slow and websites combatted this by keeping imagery to a minimum and displaying loads of text. There wasn’t much to look at but consumers had no choice (and at this early stage of the internet, they didn’t know any better).
Fast forward to 2017 and your site visitors expect so much more – they want eye-catching designs, easy to use functionality and, most of all, access to YOU as a business – all at the touch of their fingers. If your website doesn’t satisfy these basic requirements from your online customers – you might just need a redesign.

2. You can’t update it yourself

For this point, if you don’t already know, you may need to get in touch with the original developer of your site and see what Content Management System they have used to build your site upon. If they respond that it doesn’t have one and it’s not possible to update information yourself – you might just need a redesign.

3. Load Time is really ssssllllloooowwww

Head on over to GT Metrix and type your website address into the box provided. This handy online tool will not only give you a speed rating but will also give you a list of all the items that are slowing your site down. And with PageSpeed being an integral part of the Google ranking system, you really need a site that is getting an “A” grade in relation to speed.

If your site speed is “flunking” Google AND the patience of your potential customers – you might just need a redesign.

4. Your Bounce Rate is too high

Every website owner or manager needs to be constantly monitoring their site’s data and analytics. Either through Google Analytics or AwStats on the server, be sure to regularly check the statistic known as “bounce rate”. This statistic shows how fast customers arrive and leave your site, leaving details of how long they stayed and what they looked at.

Ideally, you want to see that site visitors have stayed long enough to find what they were looking for. If the Bounce Rate is too high (meaning they left fairly quickly), your call to action may not be strong enough to make them want to stay. If customers are staying less than 10 seconds on any particular page, you might just need a redesign.

5. It’s not making any difference to your “bottom line”.

At the end of the day, the whole purpose of your website is to provide a boost to the financial bottom line of your business. It may achieve this via online sales, reliable after-sales support or simply the establishment of your business as an expert in its field. Regardless of how it is working, your business should be benefitting from your website and you should be able to measure this in either profit or customer numbers.

If your site is simply trudging along and not really providing any tangible benefits to your small business, you might just need a redesign.

If your website fails to satisfy any of the key points above and you really want to turn that around, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design. We’ll create a brand-new site that is attractive, responsive to all screens and useful to your customers – a website that will be a proud part of your business.

Google Loves a Fast Site – Five Simple Ways to Speed Up your Small Business Site

Five Simple Ways to Speed Up your Small Business SiteAs proved by 27% of all websites on the internet, the WordPress CMS is an amazing framework to build upon when creating any site. Not only is it simple to use and update, WordPress has a huge community of developers around it, consistently creating new plugins for use in the CMS. The base framework of WordPress itself is so popular, it is estimated to be used by over 70 million websites worldwide!

It’s so simple to use WordPress to add fresh content, plugins and imagery that sites can easily get slowed down by the shear workload. Today’s internet-savvy visitors expect a site to load its content in under five seconds – any longer, and they will start leaving in droves.
Luckily there are five simple actions that you (or your web developer) can put into place to ensure that your site speed is up there with the best.

#1 Optimise all Images

All website owners and operators need to ensure that images have been optimised before they are uploaded to a website. This means that PNG files should be run through an optimizer like TinyPNG to reduce them and JPG images files must be reduced to at most 80% quality. There’s plenty of free editors that can help with this optimisation including the very capable Irfanview.

#2 Minimise Website Code

Most websites are made of complex programming code, generating everything that you can see on the browser screen. This code is not usually contained in one single file, meaning that your site is “pulling” information from several places as it loads, slowly down the load time.
Adding a plugin to your site such as JCH Optimize helps to automatically compress and tidy up some of the code (specifically CSS, JavaScript and HTML) into one file on the server. This singular file is then accessed by your site visitors, effectively speeding up the load time on their browsers.

#3 Reduce call-outs to external sites

Whilst grabbing web fonts from Google and displaying Social Media on your site may be appealing and give you loads of instant content, they are responsible for a majority of site drag. When accessing information from external sites, your poor website not only has to load itself but it also needs to load content from these other sites.

To prevent this, use common fonts or fonts that can be stored on your own server and minimise your Social Media display – at least on the home page.

#4 Optimise your site’s database

Over time, site updates and usage takes a toll on the database which stores all the information for your site. Keep this data inline and optimised with the WP-Optimize plugin – it will automatically tidy the stored information on a set schedule and keep the background of your site neat and tidy for quick access.

#5 Use Online Tools to determine blockages

If you have tried all the tips above and still need to squeeze out a few seconds of load time, head over to GTMetrix and type in your website address. This online tool analyses your site speed using Google PageSpeed and provides a concise list of how your site is performing and where improvements can be made. Some areas may be too technical and need the assistance of a web developer however quite a few can be “fixed” by a novice user with a few spare minutes.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that not only is site speed essential to your visitors, it’s also important to your Google ranking too. Page speed is an important part of the Google Algorithm – slow loading sites will be penalised with low ranking in search results.

Need help getting your site “Up to Speed”? Rusty Mango Design are specialists in developing WordPress sites and we can tweak your small business site until it is purring like a kitten. Send us an email today and we’ll check it out on GTMetrix for you (free-of-charge) and we’ll let you know exactly what we can do to help!

How You Can Make Google Sit Up and Pay Attention

It’s time to dispel a myth.

The act of simply getting a website DOES NOT mean that Google will automatically sit up and take notice of your business.

Your small business website is an important portal to your business – not Google’s. They won’t automatically place your business at #1 on the search rankings just because you have a site.  And the truth of the matter is that Google will continue to basically ignore your business until you (and your web developer) put some plans into action to make them sit and pay attention.

Here’s some tips from the Rusty Mango team to help you in the right direction….

Mobile ResponsiveMobile Viewing is Vital

As of 2015, making websites mobile responsive for viewing on phones and tablets became a priority for all. This was thanks to Google, stating loud and clear, that sites that were not optimised for viewing on mobile devices would be penalised in search rankings or, even worse, not even appear in mobile search results.

Google aside, now that over 74% of Australians rely on their phones as much as they rely on their desktops (Galaxy Poll), it’s definitely time to ensure that your small business site is mobile-friendly. 

All new Rusty Mango Design sites are mobile-responsive from day one for this very reason.

Don’t Use a Generic Business Name

If you already have a reputable brand then this particular action is going to be hard to implement. When establishing your business name, be sure to select one that is not previously used by other businesses, particularly in your industry. Even similar names can cause issues.

Why? Two problems can arise online – one, you may find it hard to register the domain name that you want and two, most importantly with SEO, Google may show your competitor’s name when users are actually searching for you!

Back LinkingShare Site Links with Your Industry

Although nowhere as important as they used to be, inbound links still give your site credence in the eyes of the Google-Bot. In days gone by, sites would inherit “importance” or ranking from any sites that linked back to them – reciprocal links were very popular among web masters. That importance has been downscaled in recent versions of the Google ranking algorithm but it is still there to a lesser degree.

To take advantage of inbound links, ask that your industry contacts link back to your website and, in return, you will link out to them.

Use A Plugin to Optimise Your Pages

When it comes to optimising your site for SEO (search engine optimisation), ticking all the boxes to make Google happy is a difficult task. Luckily for those sites using a Content Management System – there are site add-ons (plugins) like Yoast SEO to help get the job done.

Yoast SEO uses a coloured “light” icon to indicate whether the SEO on a page has been done correctly. Red: Incomplete, Orange: Partially Done and Green: Optimised. As the user adjusts the SEO settings using the easy to understand Yoast recommendations (Page Title, Description, Alt Tags, etc.), the “light” icon changes. Aim for the green “light” and you have given your page a good chance of success with Google.

Fresh ContentFresh Content

“Content is King” has been a catchphrase for quite a while now and nothing has changed. Google still loves sites that keep their content fresh, engaging and relevant to the target audience. The Google-Bots trawl the web regularly and they will notice who is updating their sites and who isn’t.

Of course, the easiest way to get some Google “love” is to pay for some. The Google AdWords system is the way that their company makes the bulk of their income. If you sign up for pay-per-click, you will suddenly become a Google VIP and your business listing will appear in the Ads in search results.

Have a Search right now and see where your small business site appears. If it isn’t on that all important page one, look at the actions above and create your own Google SEO strategy.

5 Key Points you NEED to effectively brief your Web Designer

main-imageBuilding a website for your small business should not be a spur of the moment decision.

And yet, as a website developer, I often meet new clients who have decided to build a website for their business but they haven’t yet considered how that site is going to improve their business.

Some still view a website as an online business card and, as I’ve covered in my blog posts before, a website can be so much more if it is planned and implemented correctly. The key to this effectiveness is carefully-considered planning – at every stage along the line.

Before picking up the phone or emailing a web designer for the first time, there are a few key questions that need your attention to ensure that the website development stages are quick and the final website is more effective when it is launched.

 

#1 What is the Key Objective of the Website?

Very simply, in as fewer words as possible (one sentence if possible), write down a measurable objective for your business website. This single sentence will guide everything else that happens along the way to development your site. The measurement is usually written as a percentage.

i.e. Increase the Monthly Sales of XYZ company by 20%

 

 5 Key Points you NEED to effectively brief your Web Designer#2 Who is the target audience?

With point #1 clearly in mind, now look at what kind of site visitor is going to make that measurable objective possible.

Who will be looking for your products/services? Where are they? How old are they? What gender?

Be as specific as you can – this information will help your designer plan and style your site.

i.e. 18 to 60-year-old men interested in recreational fishing around the North QLD area.

 

#3 What kind of content will your audience be seeking at your site?

After identifying the audience that you want to attract to your site, grab a pencil and paper to map out the type of content that these potential customers will respond do. Will they want to read text blogs like this or would they respond better to video or imagery? Maybe a mixture would work best?

What kinds of information / products / services will they be seeking from you and, most importantly, what information do you want them to have about you and your business?

i.e. Information about the latest estuarine fishing equipment, videos on how it is used, fact sheets on where the fishing are biting….

 

fish

#4 What are your competitors doing online?

Get this information in conjunction with point #1 – Get online and see what your competitors are doing with their websites. Google all relevant information regarding your target audience. Your top competitors will generally be at the head of the list – What kinds of content are they using? What appeals to you on their sites? What doesn’t?

Although your web developer should do this research as well, it will be highly beneficial to you as your website takes shape and you know what you are aiming for.

 

#5 What timeframe do you have to complete the site?

Armed with the knowledge that designers work better when given a timeframe (I know I do), when you want to launch your site to the world? Keep in mind, you must be able to “hold up” your end of the bargain and ensure that you can provide the content that the site requires for launch. Even the most experienced developer will baulk at a proposed launch date if they don’t have the content for the site.

 

Conclusion

By having the above planning completed/documented before contacting a designer, you will also be able to brief them clearly and then ascertain whether they can do the job at hand.

Don’t leave your small business’ website goals up to the designer. Remember that no-one knows your business better than you.

Have you got all the above planning done and are ready to go ahead and contact a designer?
Get in touch with Rusty Mango Design on 0488 406 050 and we will work with you all the way (and even beyond) to a great, customer converting website for your small business.

Google Analytics – Bounce back from a high bounce rate!

Bounce back from a high bounce rate!Anyone who has explored the Google Analytics data for their own websites (if you haven’t, get in touch today!) will know that a major metric shown is the bounce rate for the website. The term “bounce rate” may not mean very much to most people but it is vitally important to the success or failure of many websites.

The bounce-rate gives a percentage of those people who left a given page (generally the front page) on a website without viewing any other pages – i.e. they didn’t explore any further. It is totally different to another Analytics metric, exit rates, which tells the number of people who left from a particular page.

In most cases (not all), a high bounce-rate means that your site and its content are not doing the job properly. The information and the way it is displayed is not enticing site visitors to stick around and find out more about your business. A high bounce-rate is not good *.

Fortunately, there are a whole range of measures and tactics that the site owner and their website developer can deploy to reduce the bounce-rate and improve the effectiveness of a site.

#1 – Ensure that the first page loads quickly.

To do this, optimise all images on the page, right down to the minimum possible. Your web designer must use clean code and a caching plugin will be beneficial if you are using WordPress. Most importantly of all, be sure that your site is housed on a fast server (ask your business contacts for recommendations here).

#2 – Use a prominent Call To Action (CTA)

Your site visitor needs to find the CTA within a few seconds of arriving at the site. This means, if you are an online store, the SHOP NOW needs to stand out from the remainder of content on the page. If your site makes the visitor search for what to do next, you’ve lost them.

#3 – Get the Hook in

They’ve come to your site for a reason now entice them to stay. Offer value on that very first page and you’ll get the “hook” in. Think about what they want to see?  For ideas on what you could do for your site, check out the front page of BCF’s website – it has Instagram pictures, video clips, bargains in the store among various other items. In my opinion, BCF has a few too many on their front page but a couple on yours would work a treat!

#4 – Avoid Distractions

Link-baiting from other sites (these are commercial ads/articles with catching headlines that lead off-site) and pop-ups are a real turn-off for most site visitors. We’ve seen them all on other sites so why do we want to see more of them when we come to your site? Don’t use content that will distract from the real purpose of visiting your website – making connections and selling products.

#5 – Get an attractive, eye-catching site design from the word GO!

Do this step right from the beginning and you won’t have to redesign later on to fix a dodgy site. Be sure to choose a web designer that has created sites that will appeal to your industry. Ask them if they know about heat maps (these track visitors use of a page) and how to create sites that draw the visitor’s attention to the more desirable parts of the page. A good designer will make everything else so much easier.

By making a visit to the front page of your site worthwhile using the the above tips, you will dramatically improve the number of visitors who stay on-site and explore a bit further. Be sure to track the success of your changes through Google Analytics – you can watch as the bounce-rate begins to fall and your conversion rates begin to rise.

 

* Please note: While vitally important for multi-page sites, the bounce-rate is not an important measure for one-page websites and sites that have all the necessary details for customer conversion on the front page.

Website Imagery – More important than ever!

Imagery can make or break your siteWeb design has come a long way since 1991 when a man called Tim Berners-Lee created the first text-only pages of the World Wide Web. In those days, web pages were drab and boring as the technology and slow download speeds didn’t allow for anything else.

There is no such excuse in 2015. A majority of the world has access to high-speed broadband and with that, multimedia websites with video, images and sound are common place. Browsing the web has become a total sensory experience in many ways and text is taking a back seat. The imagery that we see on a website can often determines the success or failure of our interactions with that site. “A picture is worth a 1000 words” has never been a truer statement.

Why are images so powerful for a website?

  • Hot spot analysis shows that images are the very first thing a visitor sees on a website. Text is a distant second!
  • One solitary image can determine the emotion and tone of the website, even before the visitor reads a single word.
  • Visitors like to click on image links more than simple text links. For example, a user will more likely click on a product image to make a purchase rather than the words underneath.
  • Visitors like to share what they find on the web with their friends and it is much more likely that they will LIKE an image to share on Facebook or PIN onto Pinterest.

Pointing with images drives attention to the textUsing images has distinct benefit to a website:

  • Site analysis has shown that images increase the average number of pages visited within a site, reducing bounce time and keep visitors longer.
  • 60% of consumers are more willing to consider local businesses that include images on their websites.
  • ALT tags (the labels that pop-up when you float your mouse over an image) help to improve the general SEO on your site. Google scans these each time it visits your website.
  • Online store products with effective imagery have a much improved chance of product sale than those without.

Message: Don’t Skimp on the Imagery

It’s always evident when a business skimps on images for its website. Even if the text content is compelling and the “call to action” actually works, the whole site can be let down by poor quality imagery. Conveying an emotion is one of the most important parts of a business web design – you want the site visitor to “feel” something towards your brand. You may want to generate excitement through action shots, warmth through family images or compassion for emotional situations around the world.

Creating this emotion is the hardest part. Only well-framed and purposeful imagery has the strength to convey emotion which will affect nearly everything else on the page.

Now to get on my soapbox: Only a professional photographer (or at the very least an experienced amateur) has the experience to capture these images. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that a couple of shots taken on a smart phone will have the same effect. Shots taken by your employees often won’t meet the bill either.

If you have contracted a web designer to build your small business site, than you have made a serious dollar investment that will ultimately benefit your business. Don’t hamper that investment by reverting to using poor quality images on your site. Outlay a few extra dollars (do a little research, it’s often cheaper than you think) and hire a professional photographer to create the emotions that your site needs for its success.

Your site will be better for it!

Google’s “Mobilegeddon”

MobilegeddonSome small business owners may have noticed a change but the majority would not. Maybe the GoogleBot hasn’t swept by your site just yet. Even if it has, and your search ranking have taken a step backwards, it’s not the end of the world.

An unbelievable number of marketing bloggers have been all “doom and gloom” about the changes on April 21st to Google’s search ranking algorithm but it’s not the first time that changes have been made (it most probably won’t be the last either). Why are so many people excited about this one?

Let’s take a look at what is “Mobilegeddon”?

As of April 21st, 2015, Google will start using mobile friendliness as an integral part of their ranking calculations to determine search results. This means, in layman’s terms, that mobile-friendly sites will get a rewarded with a higher position in those results, while sites that aren’t responsive on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets, will “significantly” drop in ranking.

Just how much that drop will be is still up for debate.

Is your website mobile-friendly?

Google, being the very helpful “big brother” that it is, has conveniently created a mobile-friendly test that will quickly determine whether your site makes the cut or not. The test also generates a breakdown of the various mobile elements of your site so that you can see where improvements need to be made. To examine your site for mobile friendliness, click here to visit the Google Mobile-Friendly Test page.

What if your site is not mobile friendly?

First of all – don’t panic. You won’t be removed from results altogether but there are things you need to do.

To be regarded as “mobile-friendly”, Google looks at the following:

  • On a mobile device, is the text readable without zooming?
  • Does the content of the site resize automatically to fit the screen?
  • Does the site use Flash? (Flash is not available on most mobile devices)
  • Can a user click links and buttons with a fingertip or stylus? How do they navigate around the site?

If you answer NO to any of the above questions then you may have a non-responsive site.

What are the options with a non-responsive site?

Achieving the parameters above is quite simple if your site is built on the WordPress framework.

Option #1:

You can download a free plugin called WP-Touch and configure it to display your site as a mobile theme. WP-Touch has a number of built themes that you can select to display your website. With some tweaking, you can achieve a decent variation of your main site.

Downside: Unless you are skilled in PHP and CSS (web coding languages), this option changes the on-screen appearance of your site and it will no longer match your branding from the desktop version.

Option #2:

Enlist the help of a web designer to alter your website at a foundation level to become a fully responsive website. A responsive site automatically detects the size of the screen and changes everything accordingly. A mobile menu appears, text and imagery resize and non-mobile necessary content can be removed to increase page loading speed.

Please note that this should not mean a complete site re-build. There are actions a web designer can take, at grass roots level, to improve the appearance of a site on a mobile screen.

Conclusion

As you can see from the options above, if you have found that your site has taken a tumble with the changes to Google, it is not a serious problem that can’t be rectified. Once action has been taken, you simply need to wait for the GoogleBot to sweep past your site again, detect your changes and you will be back in business.

Some internet marketing commentators are noticing the mobile changes SINCE 21st April are being detected by Google very quickly. You may be back in your desired rankings before you know it.

How to choose the right Social Media for your Business

Social MediaWhen it comes to choosing a suitable social media platform for your small business, there is no shortage of options. But with most business owners being enthusiasm rich but time poor, not every single one can be covered. In an ideal world, the small business owner would be able look into each and every social media channel and determine which would deliver the best results for them.

There are a whole range of factors that determine the success of a particular social media for you: your products / services, human resources, audience and financial resources all need to be taken into account.

Let’s look at the five big ones that may be useful for your business:

Google +

Google Boss Larry Page has trumpeted the growth of Google+ at every opportunity but you need to wary of this – his company has made “membership” of Google+ mandatory for usage of Gmail and Youtube. Apart from this, who actually uses Google+? I tried for a short time but found that the circles concept is fundamentally flawed to reach a larger audience with update posts.

On the plus side, Google+ is powered by Google so it isn’t disappearing without a fight. It’s also intrinsically linked to Google search so there may be benefits to some benefits in that one fact alone.

You, like me, may need to test this one out for yourself.

Instagram

Essentially an image sharing platform, Instagram is slightly more suitable for business than the other image sharer platform, Pinterest, through its clever use of hashtags and plugin integration. Whereas Pinterest allows people to collect images that are of interest to them, Instagram can be integrated directly into business websites allowing site owners to draw in real-time content from their own customers.

A great example is used in online fashion stores – with a simple WordPress plugin, a site owner can display their products as worn by their customers – after purchase! The customer simply has to take a photo and upload to their own Instagram account with a suitable hashtag. The website detects this tag and displays the image in the online shop. What a great way to show your products in use by everyday people – not shop models!

Instagram is great for businesses with a teen/young adult market – they are all over this!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been designed from the ground up to cater for the Business to Business market. At current, over 2.7 million businesses are represented on the platform but it may not suit your needs if you cater to the public consumer.

If your small business provides services to other businesses (large or small), LinkedIn is ideal for creating connections within your industry. By simply “connecting” with one person, a whole spider web of possibilities opens up to you. Your connections still need to approve your invite to connect, but this is lot more personable than a cold call.

Facebook

Facebook is the one Social Media that everyone knows and everyone is on. Luckily for business, it is fantastic no matter what service you provide or products you sell. If there is one social media you must be on, in my opinion, this is it.

Facebook not only allows businesses to build a fan-based community around their brand but it also enables the business owner to directly target their ideal audience. Is your target audience 15 year old boys who love to surf and skateboard? Facebook has them covered. What about pregnant 30 year old mums? Too easy.
By ensuring that users enter information about themselves, Facebook can specifically target these audiences.

You can boost your posts on Facebook through the usage of paid advertisements or, in the initial period, try it out with your own audience (people who click LIKE on your website).

Twitter

Another must in the Social Media arsenal for business owners, Twitter is great for a whole range of reasons. You can use it to start or participate in trending topics (once again using hashtags), both locally and worldwide. Better still, you can graphically the trends across the world.

Announce your latest news, products, blog posts and anything else you want to share, instantly. Start instant competitions for your business with no need for outside promotion (great for those times when business is slow).

Hashtags are the key. Before posting anything on Twitter, do a quick hashtag check (I use Tweetdeck) and see if there is a similar tag that you can use. This way, you will “hook” into a movement that has already started.

On top of the five mentioned above, there are many more Social Media channels to choose from, including the popular Foursquare, YouTube and Pinterest options.
When choosing the platforms that you want to use, don’t forget that nothing is set in stone. If, six months down the track, you decide to try something else, there is no barrier to stop you.

Just remember that as a small business, being on too many platforms can spread you out too thin, effecting your productivity and results. Hopefully, armed with the information written above, you can make an informed decision on which platforms to focus on to help boost your business.

Five Tips to get you IN with Google

Getting on GoogleIt should come as no surprise that the most common question I field as a web designer is “How can improve my site’s placement on Google?” It’s universally known that Google is the main driver of traffic on the internet. The word “Google” has even been added to the Oxford Dictionary.

So what steps can you do as the website owner or manager to try and snag that front page of Google search results? Here’s five tips that will help you on the way:

Tip #1 – Use your Web Designer to get quick placement!

If your site was professionally designed, your developer should have added your site to their portfolio. Check that it has been added with a full URL link and a few key words in a description. As their site would be already in the Google index, your new web address will be “picked up” the next time the Google Bot sweeps by for its regular site check. Once the address has been indexed, you will start to see your site in the search results in a couple of weeks.

Alternatively you can use Google Webmaster Tools and manually add your site to the Google listing. Be though warned that this method does take longer than the one above – sometimes up to five weeks.

Tip #2: Use Keywords throughout your Content

While writing content for a particular page of your site, be sure to include a “smattering” of the page’s keywords throughout. For example, on the front page of a site containing fashion, you would include the keywords that your customers would type into Google to find you – words like “fashion, style, prada, guuchi, etc.). Use these words in the regular flow of your text content.

Don’t add them one after the other and most importantly, don’t overload the page with keywords. This is known as keyword stuffing and you can be penalised by Google for this tactic.

Tip #3: Utilise your Page Titles

Another great place to put your keywords is in the actual title for your site pages. Known as H1 titles, these are generally the first text titles you see on a web page and Google holds these in very high regard when calculating page ranking for search placement.

Note: To avoid being penalised, never use more than one on each page.

Tip #4: Share links with your Industry partners

Although not as popular with Google as it used to be, link sharing, also known as back linking, is the usage of links between various (separate) sites on the internet to promote search ranking. Put simply, your site links to another site and they link back to you. Depending on the popularity of the sites involved, you can boost your placement in the search results.

To do this, you must link from high quality sites – sites that Google likes within your industry. It doesn’t work to link from unrelated sites as this is detected by the search algorithm that the search engines use.

On this note, never subscribe to those spam emails / links you may receive asking for you to buy links. Just like buying lollies for others didn’t get you real friends at school, buying links won’t make you “friends” with Google.

Tip #5: Keep your site fresh with new content

Finally, Google loves sites that update regularly with fresh content. This can come in many forms – a blog, videos, new galleries, fresh products on an online store or, at a more extreme level, a site re-design. Unbeknownst to most website owners, the search giant does keep an eye on the age of your information and media and frowns upon content that is long in the tooth.”

Time to get that blog off the backburner and into action?

After applying the tips above to your website, you can watch for improvements in your site’s listing in two ways. You can watch the gradual climb through the Google search listings or, log onto your site’s statistics in your Control Panel (ask your website designer for access). Through the Control Panel, you can observe the usage of keywords, which search engines are sending you traffic and the overall site visits that your site is receiving.

If you need help with any of the above or just want more, keep reading the upcoming blogs from Rusty Mango Design. OR – skip the waiting and get in touch with us today.

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design