7 Website Design Trends Your Business Should Know

Website design can be a tricky thing to get right no matter if it's the first time your company is engaging a designer as opposed to the 10th time. The same principle still apply and typically the same problems will arise if you don't handle things correctly from the start. Knowledge is one of the most important things that you as the client can have. It gives you the opportunity to discuss, negotiate and more important get exactly what you want. We've come up with a list of 7 website design trends that will help you build your next website and choose the right website designer. Let's get started.

Responsive Design

You've probably heard this term thrown around a million times and it's a trend in website design that has been around for years. It's still as important as ever and maybe more so now. Responsive design basically means that your website responds and adapts to the screen size to optimise viewing for the visitor. There are some critical reasons why this should be top of your list with any website redesign:

  • Useability should be your highest priority. The majority of people visiting your website are most likely going to be doing this on a mobile device. If you're website isn't optimised for viewing on smaller devices you'll lose customers.
  • Your search engine rankings on mobile devices will suffer
  • You can avoid having a nasty mobile only site

Bootstrap

You'll hear a lot of designers talk about Bootstrap this and Bootstrap that. What the hell is it all about. In simple terms Bootstrap is just a framework composed of HTML (the structure of your website), CSS (how your website looks) and Javascript (website interactions) that is used as a base to create responsive mobile first websites. The benefits of using a framework such as Bootstrap are that it is modern looking and it can speed up the build of your website.

Content Management System

Unless you've been living under rock you would of likely heard of a content management system or CMS. Web designers will sell you the benefits of using a content management system as it allows you as the website owner to rely less on a company for service and gives you more control. Be wary of getting locked into something that isn't an open source platform as you'll struggle to take the website with you elsewhere. Some common CMS's include Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla. Be sure to do the appropriate research and do some demos on the backend of each platform so you can get an understanding of what you're comfortable in using.

Scrolling Design

With the rise in popularity of mobile devices the scrolling design is gaining traction with a lot of new website designs. Above the fold content is still critically important in driving conversions, however the long scroll allows you to tell a story and drive people to action while entertaining and informing them. Many businesses now prefer the flexibility of a single page website as it allows you to replicate what you would showcase on a multi-page site on one landing page. There are a couple of drawbacks from an SEO perspective, however if you're creating high quality content through your blog you can offset any of these potential issues.

The Banner Image

It's become somewhat of a constant on most website designs today. The modern website typically incorporates a banner image or a slider. The benefit of this is that it allows you to showcase your brand or business with more than just words. The idea of a banner image is to make your website visitors feel something. Whether it be a compelling photo to drive them to an action or an emotive feeling to have them perceive your business in a certain way. The benefit of a hero image is that you can utilise call to action techniques to drive visitors to certain pages on your website or to complete forms.

Flat Design

Flat design is slowly taking over the internet with more and more websites now incorporating a flat design. Long gone are days of bevelled edges and things that stick off the page. Flat, minimal design is not only aesthetically pleasing it also helps reduce load times and focuses on utilising less elements to achieve a simplistic look. It also makes your site easier to view on smaller devices which is always a positive with more and more traffic now coming from mobile

Alternatives to stock images

You'll find over time that if you look at businesses within your industry and their website they will all start to look the same. One of the reasons for this can be the imagery used throughout the website. Many businesses are now finding value in taking their own images, incorporating videos or even animated gifs. This can give you a potential edge over a competitor and can set you apart in terms of look and style. Stock images while useful can also start to look generic after a while. Like anything it comes down to cost v benefit as going down the path of taking or creating your own images can take time and cost money.

Hopefully an insight into some of the latest web design trends helps when you're building your next business website. Comment below to ask a question or find out more information.

Related Tags: Website Design Newcastle | Whitecrow Digital


What's Most Important When Building Your New Website

You've probably been there before. Suddenly you realise it's time for a new website. You may have some updated content you need to change, a new product or service or your website may simply be outdated. Typically most people have had some kind of bad experience when building a new website, whether it's not doing exactly what you want or taking too long to create. To avoid many of the complications that come with a website build we have some tips to help you cover the most important things you should be thinking of. We're sure you have your own list of things you may think are important. Hopefully these can help your next project run smoothly.

Get more than one quote

If you are investing in building a website it pays to reach out to multiple companies to find out what the difference in price is. Normally you are likely to get what you pay for. If you are looking for a cheap alternative you may have to deal with issues around communication, project scope and delivery. Getting a diverse range of quotes allows you to compare the differences in prices and what you will get. It also gives you the opportunity to negotiate pricing and allow you to potentially get a better deal with a company or person you are leaning towards.

Clearly define your project scope

Too many times people know they want a new website but don't know much more than that. If you're struggling to decide on the direction of your new website ask your website designer to become more collaborative in the process. What do they suggest? It can be a question that will yield new ideas and answers to questions you've been struggling to answer. Make sure you define exactly from the start what will be included in the project. If you need a blog, newsletter subscription or social media integration make sure you include this from the start. You don't want to be stung with additional costs when you are part way through the build.

Be clear about what is included and excluded

Make sure you talk to the company undertaking the project to understand exactly what is included and what is excluded. There may be something you think is automatically included that isn't so it's best to spell this out from the start of the project. A simple example may be the creation of a contact form on your website. Although this is a common inclusion on any website you may find the company you're dealing with may deem this as additional work. If the expectations are clear from the start you know exactly where you stand.

Provide all the information at the start of the project

Delays and stoppages during a project are a cause of frustration on both sides. To eliminate any issues around the website build stopping and starting make sure you provide all the accurate and relevant information you are able to at the start of the project. If you can do this it will reduce any headaches. If you don't have images ask the company you are working with for a cost effective way to include stock images or purchased photos.

Keep the communication open

Communicate constantly with your website development company by asking for defined milestones and then follow up when they come due or are missed. If you keep them on their toes they won't forget about your project or push it too far into the work in progress pile. Be realistic with your expectations and look at your web designer as a partner in the delivery of your project. Whatever you can do to make their job easier will benefit you in the long run.

Hopefully these tips will help get your new website built quicker. We'd love to hear how you handle the development of your projects, so feel free to comment below.

Related Tags: Web Developer Newcastle | Website Design Newcastle


4 Ways To Create The Perfect Landing Page

Website design is a tricky thing to get right. There are so many people out there with different tastes, views and preferences as to what they feel looks good and conveys their brand or business in the best possible way. Ultimately, whatever you use your website for should dictate your structure & design. Your goal may be to inform your existing customer base or it may be to attract and convert new customers or it may be an avenue for you to sell more products. When designing your website you should always segment components of your site into specific landing page styles. This is important no matter the strategy behind your overall website. There are a few reasons for this which include:

  1. It gives you a place to funnel customers to from the important pages on your website
  2. You need something that allows you to monitor how your visitors are interacting with your messaging, tone and voice
  3. It helps you convert more visitors

Here are 4 simple ways you can attempt to create an amazing landing page & convert more of your website traffic into customers.

Think about the psychology behind your customers

Now this isn't as in-depth as the title would lead you to believe. It's important to know what motivates people to fill in forms, buy products or engage with a service. Why? Because as a business you can do as much as possible on your landing page to optimise for these psychological motivations. It may be a particular colour or the number of fields in your form or the type of imagery you use. Understanding why people will undertake an action and for what reasons can help you create a page that speaks to them before they hear what you have to say. One of the most overlooked things you can do is talk to your existing customers. Why do they buy from you? Are you trustworthy? Are you a leader in your field? Are you're prices the best? Remember it is harder to convey trust and authenticity online than in person so try to find the niche pockets that help you separate yourselves from the competitors and get your customers to use your products and services.

Once you know what drives existing customers to engage with your business you can then incorporate that into your landing page. It may be an explainer video, customer testimonials or a particular product or service that solves a problem. Whatever it is make sure you highlight it and refer to it throughout your messaging.

Design is important, however split testing is critical

Design can always be improved but how can it be improved? Not by asking your friend down the road what he thinks of it. You need actual data to validate your assumptions behind why a particular style or message is or isn't working. You may think it looks great but is the customer getting the message or is it engaging them to do something? The best way to achieve this is by split testing the pages your customers land on where you want them to take an action. A simple example is where you want someone to fill out a form on your website. Run two pages and send different traffic to each. Which one performs better over the timeframe? Optimise and improve the top performing page and drop the underperforming page. Repeat over and over to try to continually improve your conversion rates. Your competitors are continually working on ways to get business from you. This is a simple way to maintain your competitive edge.

Highlight your previous customer interactions

People often overlook the value of a really good testimonial. One of the best ways businesses can grow organically is through word of mouth and referrals. As a business owner use this to your advantage. While something you say may have zero impact on someone viewing your website the same view expressed by a customer will hold much more weight. Why? Because this visitor sees the customer as their equal. They can put themselves in that persons shoes and it makes them feel as though they could potentially replicate the experience by engaging you.

Make your visitors feel something

Use emotive language on your landing page, sell what you do and make them feel as though they are missing out on something if they don't make an enquiry or buy your product. Simple ways you see this done includes:

  1. Asking people to enquire and then if you meet the criteria you can be a client. This puts the power back into the hands of the business and makes the consumer feel that they must take action
  2. Giving away something for free. This makes a visitor feel as though they could gain something by engaging with you
  3. Asking people to share content. Your offering may be so good that people feel the need to share in their social circles what you do

These are 4 simple things you can combine to create the perfect landing page. Remember that the best way to get there is:

  1. Know your customer
  2. Continually refine and improve
  3. Backup everything you say with customer re-reinforcement
  4. Make your customers feel something when they land on your website - Am I missing out? Does this solve my problem?

We'd love to hear any tips you have. Feel free to comment below

Related Tags: Website Design Newcastle | Whitecrow Digital


7 Ways To Get More Enquiries On Your Website

It's typically the first question people ask when they build a new website or undertake a marketing campaign. How do I get more enquiries from my website? Let's start by saying it's not the easiest task to generate the amount of enquiries you want to. We always start any campaign by asking a client what is a realistic number of leads you would like to generate from your website each month? I say realistic because of course we would all like to get hundreds of leads each month. Understanding how many leads you want as opposed to what is achievable is the first step in developing a campaign that can maximise your return on investment. You want to build a process that is sustainable in the long run & that will deliver bottom line profit for your business. So you know how many leads you want, which will then allow you to build a strategy that can potentially deliver a return on your investment. Now the only thing you need is to start generating leads. Here are 7 tips that you can implement to grow conversions on your website and generate more sales.

Focus on the design of your website + your content

It's obvious isn't it. Your entire strategy for acquiring customers or leads hinges on your website and it's ability to attract, retain and convert customers. The design of your website, it's structure and how the content is presented is hugely important to your ability to get people to take the next step, whether it be calling you, filling out a form or buying a product. If you have an old website then it's time for an update. If you have a fairly new website implement some tweaks based on some simple recommendations:

  • Make it easy for people to contact you. This means don't hide your phone number or email address. Keep it front and centre in the mind of your visitors. If people have to dig around on different pages of your website to find out how to contact you they will likely leave before they get to that point
  • Clear & deliberate calls to action. Every time someone visits your website you should be asking them to do something. This could be filling out a form on your website, subscribing to your newsletter, reviewing your latest blog post or buying your latest special offer. Funnel your customers to the important pages on your website.
  • Utilise landing pages. Do you have a high performing product or service that performs well in your physical location or on other channels outside your website? Create a dedicated landing page on your website for this specific product or service. Build this landing page with conversions in mind.
  • Excellent content. In general terms we are talking about the copy on your home page or on your about page. Don't slap something together that was written 5 years ago. We are in the information age so make your copy concise, relevant and easy to read for your visitors so they don't lose interest quickly. Some tweaks to your copy can make all the difference when someone is sitting on the fence deciding about your business
  • Optimise for all devices. You've probably heard it a thousand times by now. A website design that is mobile friendly will not only help with your rankings on mobile devices it will also annoy less of your visitors. You will rarely convert visitors on a mobile without a responsive website and due to rising trend of mobile usage you are ultimately missing out on potential customers.

Create killer content

Content is critically important to a range of different things including how your website ranks in search engines and how you attract and retain the right customers. Let's start off by understanding that there is content overload out there on the market. How do you cut through and use content as a genuine tool to increase enquiries? A content strategy that is developed and delivered right can create a massive benefit for your business in the long term. This content can be used to attract people who are searching for information related to your service. Through this helpful content you can then sell what you do.

Think more about your audience & what kind of problems or questions they would be asking in your industry. Can you solve these problems with your specialised information? How can you differentiate your content from your competitors and deliver a value add to your audience. The goal with your content is to create an audience and drive them to a call to action whether that be signing up for a newsletter or downloading something off your website. It's at this point you can begin distributing them more relevant content and working on driving them to make an enquiry or purchase a product.

E-books & webinars (be careful)

There are thousands of e-books and webinars out in the market from people trying to generate leads & enquiries for their business for further re-marketing. They are great tools to use to acquire and convert customers by providing useful information, however to really stand out from the crowd you need to deliver a unique value proposition to your readers or viewers. What I mean by this is that it's just no good to do a standard e-book and link it to an opt-in on your website. Think about your e-books like you think about the content on your website. Put yourself in your customers shoes and think about how you can solve their problems. How can you differentiate your information from your competitors by using your knowledge about your industry or niche you operate in.

How about an example:

Let's say you run a hardware business. All your competitors focus on providing information about the different types of products and their uses. Your business leans heavily towards do it yourself buyers rather than professionals. There is an avenue to create downloadable or informative content to your customers and potential customers by focusing your content on do it yourself information. Think about what someone buying a particular product would want to use it for and what are their potential pain points. How can you deliver this in a formatted way which will allow you to acquire someone's information. Every download or registration for a webinar should require someone to provide you with their details. You can then provide further information, content & detailed marketing to convert that customer into a regular buyer. Try to think outside the box when it comes to generating leads through these methods and differentiate yourself from the competitors.

Get your visitors to opt-in

What is one of the best ways to convert a customer into a sale? Give them something for free. Think about how your business can provide something of value to a visitor. It may be a free download or a special offer. Drive visitors to opt-in by obtaining their email in exchange for something their interested in. In sales terms this is effectively a warm lead. If someone gives you their email address they are likely interested in what you offer and potentially your products or services. This is where email marketing, automated responders and content will help you turn a subscriber into a customer. Don't think about every enquiry as a sale. Give your customers a value add & build your relationship with them through your email marketing with a simple opt-in on your website. A non intrusive pop up or something similar is the perfect tool.

Instigate chats with your visitors

Now not everyone loves this method as some people can get annoyed when they are just browsing a website for information and someone rudely interrupts them with a request to chat. You have to be in the right industry and your live chat has to add value to a potential visitor. It can also be a way to differentiate what you do from a competitor. You can easily monitor what your visitors are doing, what page they are on and where they have landed there from. Take the time to create pages where you want to instigate chats. Don't just wait for a customer to hit the home page. Specify rules about what pages you want them on and then subtly introduce yourself. Sometimes you will be successful and other times you won't, however it is another way that a potential customer can talk to a person behind the business.

Pay to play

Ultimately it's hard to get customers without traffic to your website so you need to be investing in growing your business through organic and paid channels in search, social media & content. Every business is different and every strategy to acquire traffic should be optimised for your circumstances. Not every business is going to need SEO or social media or Adwords. The first step is understanding what channels you're likely to acquire customers from and how can you leverage marketing to give your business the best opportunity to send these customers to your sales pitch (your website). If you don't invest time or money you likely won't get far on any channel online. The number one thing you should be investing time in is content. If you run a successful business it's likely because your good at what you do and you're knowledgeable about what you do. The key is translating that knowledge into your content to educate and inform a potential audience. The first place people are going to be searching for this information is online. Not just Google but social media as well. The goal is to create content that outperforms your competitors by leveraging what makes your business unique and special. Even with great content you need to advertise it, whether it be a paid promotion through social media or spending time on outreach. It's important and you should be investing now if you haven't already.

Put yourself in your customers shoes

To many times we see a website that was designed that looks great but isn't converting visitors. The customer has invested time & money into SEO, Adwords or social media with little to no result. There can be multiple reasons why and one of the biggest ones is that they didn't think like a customer when they looked at their website. Most people think like the business owner and what they want to see. The ultimate goal should be delivering something that is not only easy for customers to use but that also converts. Questions you could ask include:

  • What conversion am I after - form, phone call, sale, click through to somewhere else?
  • What information is most important to a customer?
  • How would this information be presented best?
  • What tools will be most useful for a visitor?
  • Can they contact me easily?
  • Do they understand what I do without scrolling down the page?

These are just some simple questions you can ask yourself during your website build. Focus on delivering something your customer wants, not just what you want to see.

Most importantly when trying to get more enquiries on your website make sure you're tracking conversion goals in Analytics. Identify where your customers are coming from, how long they are spending on your website and importantly what an enquiry means in terms of a dollar value to your business. This is where a lifetime value of a customer calculation comes in handy to really assess what you spend vs your return. This can help you identify areas where you should invest more money. We hope these tips can help you acquire more customers on your website. Feel free to share any tips that have worked for you.

Related Tags: Web Developer Newcastle | Digital Marketing Newcastle


Is Your Website or Social Media Presence a Reflection of What You Want?

Have you ever visited someone in their home and almost felt unable to move in case you accidentally disturbed something? Have you ever walked into a store and found that it seemed almost impossible to find a sensible path to the specific items you wanted to look at?

Both of the above can be the result of ‘inside-out creation’. This is where the end result has been designed for the approval of the person creating it, rather than those visiting or wishing to use the facility. This can often happen when a site is being designed to maximise web content, or social media marketing opportunities are being exploited.

Taking off your shoes

The above comes from an old quotation: ‘To walk in someone else’s shoes, first take off your own’. So many people don’t – they, metaphorically at least, simply place them over the ones they are already wearing. The result is that their primary focus is 'inside out'. Yet, to achieve conversion optimisation throughout a range of web or social media activities, the focus can only be on the searcher or visitor. This is why artists, when painting, often step back from the canvas to actually see the work as the audience eventually will.

Four ways that inside-out focus can damage performance

1. Focusing on the wrong areas

An example of this might be the launch of a new product or service. Those producing it are proud of all it can achieve and therefore want to convey this message to the world. However, outside of their bubble, those people undertaking web searches, or visiting social media are much more interested in what exactly it can do for them. The danger is that all the content has to say gains no more than a ‘so what’ reaction from the very people it should be exciting and enthusing.

2. Using inappropriate language

This isn’t referring to rudeness, or a lack of manners, but simply to the fact that every business has its own private language. This jargon is clearly understood by all insiders, who then use it on a regular basis, like a type of shorthand. It’s far too easy to forget that many of the potential customers any company wishes to talk to simply don’t have the same level of expertise. Much as you might hope they would make the effort to find out more, in reality they are much more likely to simply search elsewhere for an easier to understand solution.

3. Ignoring the obvious

If you've ever tried to find a new location by following road signs, you’ll often end up realising that they were erected by people who already knew where they were going! A sign at one turn-off might then be missing at the next, simply because the path to take is so well-known, indeed blatantly obvious, at least to the individual placing those signs. So, if road signs should be erected by strangers, the same can apply to online content. It is so easy to miss out key pieces of information, simply because the person writing that content has known about it for so long.

4. Creating a tortuous or incomplete journey

Like the first three points above, errors here are usually due to what might be called ‘sins of omission’. There is no deliberate attempt to confuse or conceal, simply a lack of taking that ‘artist’s step back’ to cast an outsider’s eye at the work. Therefore, for example, a visitor with no knowledge of the company might find the website difficult to navigate – and then give up on the attempt. A search for a specific item might only take the arriving visitor to a generic homepage – rather than a specifically-designed landing page. Again, asking them to make a ‘discovery’ effort might simply lead to their looking elsewhere.

Gaining that 'outside-in' insight

Asking an outside company to work on your website, search engine or social media marketing, brings that fresh insight of the outsider, married to rich experience in creating optimal content.

However, it is a two-way street. Any company undertaking such tasks needs to burrow inside the skin of your business and find out what really makes it tick. Once this has been achieved, you have the best chance to achieve a great win-win situation – professionally crafted content, created by an outsider, yet enhanced by using the expertise of those within that business.

Giving your website and social media an outside touch will enable you to create an experience for visitors that will drive them to take actions.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Web Developer Newcastle


9 Tips For Conversion Rate Optimisation

In the world of websites, there are a few things that people get nervous about. One of those is conversion optimisation. Websites are always changing and evolving, and when it's time to upgrade the site for your business, you might worry that you'll hire a developer to make the modifications, spend the money, and then see it ultimately hurt your business because your conversion rate goes down. They key to success is knowing how to approach the conversion optimisation process properly and make it work for you. Today, we'll give you a few tips to help you do just that.

1. Remove unnecessary form fields

Yes, adding additional form fields might allow you to gather more information more easily, but customers don't really enjoy filling up that many blanks. It's not worth sacrificing conversion rate just to make the work easier on your end. Some companies have seen as much as 160% conversion rate by decreasing form fields from 11 down to 4. Make it easier on your customers, and they're more likely to stick around.

2. Choose a unique call-to-action colour

One of the most important parts of any business website is the call-to-action button. Every click of it means a visitor becomes a customer. You want to choose a colour for the button that will make it stand out. It's all about making the button pop against your website's background colour. You may have heard that red is a great colour for improving conversion, and that's true. However, it's not the colour itself that makes the difference. It's the contrast between the button and the background that matters, so red won't benefit everybody. Be sure you check and verify which colour will work best for your website.

3. Drop the stock photos and image sliders

Photos can make or break a website. It's a fact. However, it's not just the photos you choose. It's also how you use them. Image sliders are used quite often these days, but they don't yield the best conversion rates. Customers tend to enjoy exploring a site for themselves, and image sliders make it more difficult for them to do that. Try a static image or advertisement instead. Also, stay away from stale stock photos. It's far better to have original photos that flow well with your website and it's message.

4. Make good use of videos

Yes, videos are valuable. If your website offers advice or instruction about any topic, providing videos is an excellent way to improve conversion rates. Customer tend to enjoy watching a how-to video more than reading a long article, especially for things that might be a bit harder to learn. Just be sure you keep them short, about 2 to 3 minutes in length, so that your customers won't get burned out watching a long, boring video presentation. Make great use of videos, and your conversion is sure to improve.

5. Keep your headlines clear and phone numbers visible

You want to be sure your viewers have a clear picture of what you're offering or what your business does. Having a clear and visible headline is a must. By making sure your headline is easily seen and, most importantly, easily understood, you can boost your conversion rates by a good bit. Another thing to focus on is your company's phone number. Make sure it appears in the header of your homepage. This lends weight to your credibility, and it also make you feel more approachable to your customers.

6. Stay true with your testimonials

When visitors are trying to determine if your website is worthy of their business, they look at many things including testimonials from your previous customers. Some websites come up with fabricated testimonials in an effort to boost the credibility of their business. They don't say anything untrue, but still it's not a real customer's opinion. This isn't a good idea. The best way to boost your credibility and your conversion rate is by including real testimonials from real customers. They may not always be as perfect as you'd like, but being real makes all the difference. Remember, the truth is what earns trust.

7. Wear your badges with pride

Trust badges are an excellent conversion rate booster. Trust Pilot is a great site that offers badges for businesses with a history of good reviews. If you have that, be sure to show it on your website. You can also show off other badges you may have earned from sites such as Yelp or Glassdoor. Having these on your website is tantamount to word-of-mouth advertising and can make a big difference in customer conversion.

8. Stay current with your security

A big issue with websites these days, especially online stores, is security. Customers want to be sure that their credit card information will be safe before using any online store, and the best way to give them peace of mind is to show off any security seals your site has earned. One case study showed that websites with a Norton security seal had 11% more sales than those without one. If you have seals, show them.

9. Don't be afraid to say "free"

It's true that nothing much in this world is free, but in most cases your call-to-action will be. Usually it involves simply registering for the website which doesn't cost anything. Don't be afraid to tell your customers that by including the phrase "it's free" along with your call-to-action. Some sites have seen as much as 28% conversion improvement by using this tactic. If you're not already using this handy phrase, give it a try and see how much it helps your site.

There is far more to conversion optimisation that just the tips we've discussed here, but using these handy techniques will get you pointed in the right direction and well on your way to improving your conversion rates and with them your customer base as well. Give our tips a try and see the results for yourself!

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Web Developer Newcastle


5 Tips On Improving Your Website

If you have a business usually a website is a critical component as it becomes the online face of your business and gives customers the opportunity to get a first impression of what you do and how you do it. Unfortunately many businesses don't take the time to consistently review their website and make necessary changes to improve how customers perceive them when visiting their website but also how they can turn visitors into actual customers buying their products and using their services. Here are some simple tips that can help improve your website design, compliment your digital marketing campaign, boost your search engine optimisation and take advantage of your search engine marketing traffic. Ultimately it comes down to how you present your business in the form of your website, what functionality you require and how you can use your website as a tool to increase conversions & sales.

Always Think Mobile First

I'm sure you've heard this a million times by now about how you need to be mobile friendly and you need to ensure your website stacks up when viewed across multiple devices. It isn't just a nice thing to have anymore. It is a must have for a few reasons:

1) Statistics now show that internet usage on mobiles is growing every year with bigger screens and more opportunities to access products, services and businesses online from your pocket.

2) Google now takes into account how mobile friendly your website is when ranking sites on mobile devices. If you aren't mobile friendly your rankings will now suffer

3) It should always come back to keeping your customers happy. Accessibility and useability will dictate whether they want to use your service or product. If you don't make it easy for a customer or potential customer they will simply go to one of your competitors.

Keep Your Branding Consistent

The biggest thing we see when people create a website is that they don't keep their branding consistent especially as their business changes and evolves over time. Your brand is the key to the identity of your business and it's important to keep that fresh and consistent online. This means that your website should be aligned with your social profiles and if you update your physical branding make sure you do the same online. Colours, typography and the images you use should be thought out and aligned with your businesses brand and style.

Know Your Stuff? Share It Through Content

You may be a leader in your industry and you may also have some untapped knowledge that differentiates you from your competitors. What's one of the best ways to get customers? Use that knowledge and information and create useful, interesting and informative content that people will be searching and looking for. People constantly type questions into Google as they are looking for answers and solutions to their problems. Not only can you build authority for your website, you can also become a knowledge leader in your industry and it's a perfect way to engage and acquire new customers. Running a simple blog and keeping it updated regularly will not only keep your website fresh it will also help with your search engine optimisation and give you a variety of sources to share on social media.

Focus On Conversions

The best way to improve your website is to focus on opportunities to increase conversions. There are some simple things you can do that can potentially improve your conversions:

1) Create a call to action on every page - you want people to do something when they visit every page on your website whether this be directing them to your contact page or signing up for your newsletter for further marketing opportunities.

2) Ever thought about a live chat? Are you running a marketing campaign where you will have consistent traffic? Implement a live chat so you can try and engage these visitors. It may give you an advantage over your competitors if you can reach these customers early and try and solve their problem or answer their question

3) Give your visitors something, whether it be a free book download or a special discount or offer. It is an easy way to entice a potential customer to engage with your business.

Conversions are the key to the success of your website and make sure you implement conversion tracking so you can monitor and analyse the results of implementing any conversion improvements.

Get a Professional to Redesign Your Website

There are loads of do it yourself website builders out there, however most of the time these create more problems than the money you save. If you are really looking for a website that can deliver results for your business and create a good first time impression use a professional who understand your industry and what will potentially deliver results, more customers & increased sales.

We hope these 5 tips will help you improve your website and assist in creating a seamless experience for your customers online. Got any other tips? Comment below.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing NewcastleWebsite Design Newcastle


Seven Ways Your Business Can Improve It's Online Presence

Running your own business can be hard work. Juggling multiple hats, managing employees and dealing with the day to day operational issues that come up on a daily basis can leave you with a lack of time to promote, manage and grow your business. As consumers and people who may use the services your business provides there is an increasing need for information being readily available and the channels to access what you do being easy and simple. The growth of the internet and advances in technology has made it easier to connect with your customers whether it be through your website, social media or other digital channels. The best thing about having a good online presence is that you are easily reachable by your customers and it provides you an opportunity to differentiate what you do from your competitors. So how you do you achieve a great online presence and how do you use it to generate sales, leads and more customers for your business. Here are 7 tips that will help your business become better online.

Start selling online if you can

Enabling e-commerce functionality can open up a new sales channel for your business if you operate a traditional brick and mortar structure. Instead of employing another sales person spend some time and invest some resources into e-commerce and let those customers come to you. Like anything online you need to put the work into promoting and building awareness of your e-commerce store. It's not enough to just build it and expect the customers to come flowing through the doors. If you already have an existing website incorporate an e-commerce component and improve your online reach

Start a blog

You've probably got to the position you have by being fairly good at what you do and sometimes an expert in your industry. Sharing that knowledge and information is a form of inbound marketing that may be able to generate leads and customers for your business. If you have information that others might not be able to access easily that means it's valuable and people will be looking for it to either solve their problem or help them make a purchasing decision. Create unique, interesting and shareable information and you can generate interest in your website and business.

Pay attention to social media

This doesn't mean just doing a facebook post every 2 weeks. Create a strategy and change it slightly depending on the platform you are posting on. Consistency is the key and most importantly, what your saying must be fun, informative and interesting. The goal with social media is to build a community of followers that may eventually turn into actual customers over and over again. Don't sell what you do.Just share content that you would like to see when you visit  social media.

Update your website

Your website is a vital component of your business and it may be the place where people get their first impression of you and what you do. Make sure it's an accurate representation and always keep your website refreshed and up to date as your business changes and grows. You wouldn't let a TV ad you ran 10 years ago show up now so why would you have the same website.

Email marketing is your friend

One of the best ways to communicate with customers and potential customers is to create an email marketing list and to generate important & useful information for your subscribers. This may include special offers, discounts and once off promotions for your subscribers only so they feel special and rewarded. It can be a great strategy to convert visitors & customers who may have used you before, but have now forgotten about what you do.

Promote and advertise online

No matter what you use your website for you should always be promoting and advertising it in some way. Whether this be through SEO, Adwords, social media advertising, re-targeting, video advertising or content marketing you should be doing something all the time to promote your website and business. A well rounded digital marketing plan can do wonders for your business because it's measurable and you develop action plans based on the results to increase sales and the bottom line for your business

Review, evaluate and improve

You should always looking for ways to do things better. Being online is no exception and you should be finding things that are working and accelerating their growth. Conversely you should be dropping those things that aren't working or sending additional resources or going at it from another angle. The best thing about marketing your business online is that there is always room for improvement.

We hope these 7 simple tips can help your business become more successful online. We'd love to hear what works for you so feel free to comment below.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing NewcastleDigital Marketing Newcastle


Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

You may hear the words "Digital Marketing" floating around if you run a small business and you have been looking for ways to promote yourself. Is it a buzz word or is it something that can deliver value to your business? Digital marketing encompasses a lot of things and it should be a part of every businesses advertising plan. Why? We are going to learn what digital marketing is, why it's important and why you should be using it for a few simple reasons.

What is Digital Marketing?

In it's simplest form digital marketing is advertising & promotion through online channels. The number of channels & the relevant strategy are dependent on a few factors including:

- the type of business
- the industry
- the business goals e.g. enquiries, online sales, signups
- budget

Digital marketing is now a broad terms that covers advertising using the following channels:

- Search engine optimisation
- Search engine marketing
- Content (inbound) marketing
- Social media marketing
- Display & re-targeting advertising

Utilising all of the above channels gives you a full toolbox to attract, retain and convert customers who are visiting your website. All the efforts that go into your digital marketing plan should be focused around customers performing some kind of action usually on your website. Having a high performing website becomes of utmost importance when you are pursuing any kind of online marketing activity.

Why Is It Important?

So why is it so important for your business? Most people are already aware of the shift in the landscape of doing business with more traditional methods of providing services & products being phased out and brought online. Even industries where an online presence wasn't important five years ago are finding that being online is an important factor and is becoming increasingly important. The cyclical nature of business means that you need to constantly reinvent the way you do things, how you interact with customers and how you acquire new business. Digital marketing gives you an opportunity to target a new segment of customers that you previously may not have reached. It also allows you to directly target specific niches and measure your results down to the finest detail.

Measurable results and detailed action plans are key for your business understanding whether the money you are spending on advertising is delivering a real return on investment. Let's use the example of a local business that puts an ad on the tv screen at their local gym. Note, this is a good form of advertising to gain exposure and build brand awareness, however do you have the opportunity to measure how many customers are a direct result of this advertising. The answer would most likely be no. The gym may give you stats on their demographics & how many people are going to see it, but the only thing you should care about is acquiring new customers. If you can't measure it, that can make it quite difficult to ascertain if the advertising is of value and if you are generating a return on investment.

With any kind of online marketing you should be able to measure the result of your spend. If you run an e-commerce store and you are managing a pay per click campaign through Adwords you should know exactly how much it is costing you to acquire a customer. If every click through costs you $1 and for every 10 clicks you sell on average a $65 item you should be able to assess the cost to acquire those sales and determine if the return on investment is good enough. If you find a strategy and niche that works you should continue to invest more and more money into it. If I'm selling $100 worth of items for every $10 I spend in advertising and I'm making a net margin of $50 why wouldn't I invest more money in it? You can grow ten fold by investing in a strategy that is working. If you don't continue to build and grow, your business won't grow. Digital marketing provides measurable results that lead to detailed action plans designed to grow your business.

There are components of digital marketing that deliver intangible benefits including:

- A social media profile that has an engaging community and growing base of followers
- A loyal following of readers in your industry following & reading your content
- First page rankings on Google that deliver not only customers (measurable), but also the impression of being the leader in your field

Digital marketing isn't something that is a nice to have. It's a must have for any business that is aggressively promoting and advertising their business to new & existing customers.

Why Should You Be Using It

There are some pretty simple reasons why you should be using digital marketing:

1) There is a whole segment of customers you are missing out on
2) Your competitors will be doing some form of digital marketing
3) You can measure results and develop plans to optimise your plan depending on those results
4) You can measure your return on investment
5) You can diversify your traditional advertising methods.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Digital Marketing Newcastle


How Do You Know When It's Time To Redesign Your Website?

If you are like most business owners you are struggling with spreading your time between generating new sales, managing employees, looking after existing customers and being the master of many hats. Your website usually falls to the back of the pile of things on your to do list. Many businesses usually know that their website needs a makeover or new functionality but they don't know when the right time to do it is. Your website is one of your best marketing tools and the rapid pace at which things change online means that your website can become outdated very quickly. Here are some sure fire things that are an indication that it is time to build and design that new website.

Your Customers Keep Telling You?

How many times do you have a customer come in or call you on the phone and say I couldn't find anything on your website. Do you do this or sell this? Imagine how many customers aren't calling you and just go to a competitor that has the information on their website. A redesign isn't just about the way your website looks. It's also about functionality & content. These two things are just as important to potential visitors as how your website looks. You may even have customers telling you that they don't like your website or they find it difficult to use. If your customers are telling you this then you should listen and start researching how you can make your website better.

Your Website Isn't Mobile Friendly

We always stress the importance of having a mobile friendly website. Why? Because more and more customers are now using mobile to search for products and services. This means that if your website isn't optimised for mobile and easy for customers to use they will simply close your website and move onto one of your competitors. Google is also making responsive/mobile friendly design a factor for mobile rankings. If you're website isn't mobile friendly your Google rankings will suffer on mobile devices. Not only can you improve or sustain your mobile rankings but your customers will also thank you for providing a functional website that is easy to use. Your opportunity to convert visitors into sales and enquiries will increase.

Your Brand Doesn't Match Your Website

Many businesses continually evolve their brand over time which includes updating their logo, merchandise, print and media advertising. They often forget that their website is an important cog in their overall marketing plan. If your website doesn't match your branding you may confuse potential customers and create a disconnect between your physical and online marketing. Make sure that if you are advertising anywhere that your website is aligned with your brand because the first thing people will do when they see an advertisement is Google your business name and check out your website. Don't lose potential business because your website isn't up to scratch.

Opportunity

Depending on the type of business you run there are multiple opportunities to take advantage of being online and using your website as the vehicle to drive new business. You may be a retail outlet that can easily expand into the world of e-commerce by upgrading your website. You may be the top source of information in your industry and by creating a blog you can drive new traffic and customers. You may want to automate access to downloadable forms & content for existing customers. The list goes on for the potential reasons you can take advantage of a new website.

Remember, redesigning your website doesn't only have to be about upgrading the way your website looks. There are multiple reasons why you should upgrade your website regularly to stay up to date with current trends and maintain a strong impression on your existing and potential customers.

Related Tags: Web Developer Newcastle | Website Design Newcastle