Why High Volume Web Traffic Doesn’t Always Mean More Enquiries

Why High Website Traffic But Low Enquiry NumbersWeb design always has been and always will be a numbers game. With many web design companies now offering their customers the chance to check up on the number of hits their website gets and other key information about its performance a lot of businesses are now becoming more switched on with regards to the number of visitors their website gets per day, week, month or year.

However there are a number of reasons why higher volumes of web traffic do not lead an increased number of enquiries for your business. One of the most common reasons for this tends to be that you are bringing in too much generic traffic as opposed to targetted visitors.

So what’s the difference?

If you are a local business then targetted traffic includes online visitors from within your business encatchment area such as a town or suburb who have a specific interest in the product or service you can provide for them.

Generic traffic can include people from outside your encatchment area or those with no more than a passing interest in something on your website which is never going to lead to a transaction between you and that person.

To give you an example I used to work with a tyre dealer based in east Manchester in my old job. As a business they had spent a lot of money on a website which saw them rank as number one for car tyres in Manchester on Google which in turn brought them plenty of visitors to their website. By analysing the entry and exit pages on their website it was easy to see that visitors were coming in to their website from across the city and surrounding areas and then leaving again once they had seen that their depot was on the other side of Manchester.

Manchester is a big place and very few drivers are likely to drive from one side of the city to the other for a set of tyres unless they can get a hefty discount that most suppliers just can’t afford to give! To put it quite simply the business were ranking highly for the wrong keywords. This meant that their website got plenty of hits but most of these visitors were from the wrong parts of the city and were never going to become customers.

If their designer had been doing their job properly they would have realised that they would get a greater return on investment by targetting local suburbs within a few miles of their depot. This may have resulted in less traffic to the website each month, but as this would have yielded a greater number of targetted visitors it would have led to more enquiries and more business!

When working with us we find out about the scale and scope of your business to ensure that your website delivers targetted traffic and more enquiries giving you a greater return on investment. Can you really afford to deal with someone who doesn’t? Call us today for further information & no obligation quotes, or just to discuss your needs.

How To Optimize Website URLs

Optimising Website URLs for SEO is a key part of designing any successful website which ranks well within search engines such as Google.

Optimise Website URL WordPress Slug Optimisation Plugin

Each individual web page has its own unique URL which follows the domain name and this piece of the URL is known as the slug.

Many people creating a website for the first (or even the hundredth!) time do not realise the importance of optimising slugs for SEO.

There are a few key points to remember:

  • Make them short but descriptive
  • Make them logical (readable)
  • Remove stop words

An optimised slug should contain the keywords which best describe that page in a logical order which makes them more readable (like a sentence) and therefore more likely to match a users search term.

All search engines have a list of stop words which they also ignore when a user enters a search. A list of common stop words is available online for you to view. In order to improve keyword proximity it is important that you remove stop words from a slug.

Users of the WordPress system can install a plugin to do this automatically. The Relevanssi plugin automatically removes any stopwords it finds in a slug before you publish a page or post to your website or blog.

To optimise your slug in WordPress go to Settings \ Permalinks and set your structure to ‘Post Name’. The next time you go to add or edit a post or page you will now see an ‘Edit’ option next to your slug which will allow you to have complete control over your URL to create a descriptive keyword packed slug for your content.

Importance Of Keyword Proximity For SEO

Keyword Proximity Importance SEO Readability vs Keyword Proximity DensityIn order to rank a web page search engines such as Google take into account a number of things of varying importance in order to determine which order they should appear in for certain search terms.

One major piece of the SEO puzzle is keywords and keyword proximity.

What is a keyword?

A keyword is a single word or phrase which you would expect someone looking for your website to search for in a search engine.

Many people using search engines are now leaning towards the use of long tail keywords. For example many internet users are now more likely to use a phrase such as “surfing equipment hire in Newquay” over “surfing equipment hire” because they have learnt that being more specific gives them more accurate information in return. Therefore you should make your content more specific in order to reach out to the correct audience.

What is keyword proximity?

Keyword proximity is the distance within a piece of text between two or more keywords. For example if someone were searching for “swimming pools in Cardiff” you would expect a site containing this sentence:

“There are a number of swimming pools in Cardiff

To rank higher than this one:

Cardiff has a total of 17 swimming pools

The keywords used in the search are in closer proximity in the first sentence, which therefore makes it more relevant.

Many people try to cram their content with keywords until it is fit to burst and does not flow naturally to the point where it becomes difficult to read and understand. Do not do this. Users do not like decoding your content. They want something that is easy to read, and simple to understand and will most likely leave your site and fail to recommend your website to others.

Keyword proximity is important, but so is readability. If you are looking for extra keyword density make sure you make use of your alt tag in your images. The alt tag shows a text alternative to an image for those who have a text only browser, and can be used to add further destcriptive keywords to a page without them having to be logical as they are not meant to be read.

The key points to remember are:

  • Identify Your Relevant Keywords And Phrases
  • Construct Your Content To Contain Those Words And Phrases
  • Keep It Readable

And remember that most people construct their search terms the same way that they would construct a sentence when speaking.

For example you are more likely to see:

“Restaurants in Chester

As opposed to:

“Chester Restaurants”

So use the top one in your content, and the second and less readable one in your alt tags.

Essential WordPress Plugins

essential wordpress pluginsWith the WordPress system now being the foundation stone of many websites there has been an explosion in the number of add-ons and plugins available to developers and web designers to allow you to perform almost any function imaginable through your website.

In fact the choice of WordPress plugins has become so great that in regards to many tasks you are left wondering which one to choose.

Although it’s not possible to check and review every single plugin available on the market, and would take an absolute age to cover every single task you might want your website to perform here is a list of some essential WordPress plugins that you should seriously think about installing:

1. All In One SEO Pack

This fantastic plugin provides you with extra customisation options for headers, menus and more to ensure that your site is fully SEO optimised.

However don’t worry if you’re just a beginner because it works straight out of the box too.

Other great features include auto generated META tags, support for custom post types and over writing of page and post titles with custom META data so you can have differing titles (for your readers) and keyword filled META data (for search engines).

 

2. XML Google Sitemaps

Nothing much to say about this plugin, it just does what it says on the tin.

Create a site map in seconds in order to help search engines better understand the layout of your website. This helps to ensure that everything there is to index is indexed.

Be sure to recreate your site map when you add new content, and the plugin will notify all major search engines for you in order to speed up the process.

 

3. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is in my opinion the most customisable contact form plgin available.

Create a contact form with custom fields that can be added to a page, post or even a widget on your WordPress website sidebar.

The plugin is easy to use and opens up a world of possibilities.

There are also a number of great add-ons available such as the Campaign Monitor add-on which allows you to have a newsletter signup form on your website that links directly to your Campaign Monitor mailing list.

The plugin also allows you to add your sites Google Analytics tracking code so you can keep an eye on how well your site is doing!

 

4. Mappress

If you are creating a website which needs one (or more) embedded Google Maps then Mappress is the plugin for you.

Mappress allows you to create custom Google Maps with multiple points of interest, and you can embed them straight into your site with a neat little short code.

You can play around to your hearts content to set the level of zoom and the positioning of each individual map you create so that it opens just how you want it to every time.

 

5. Wordbooker

Wordbooker integrates your Facebook profile or page and your WordPress install so that when you post to WordPress, you can also notify your Facebook followers.

You can choose a fixed structure to notify Facebook followers, or you can also customise it each and every time you post. If you have more than one page tied to your Facebook account you can also post to multiple pages at the same time.

No longer will you have to try and remember to update Facebook after updating your blog or website!

 

6. WP to Twitter

Similar to Wordbooker, WP to Twitter plugin for WordPress allows you to send a customisable tweet to your twitter followers every time you update your website or blog.

Unfortunately Twitter does not make it too simple to set up any application, but it should only take ten minutes and simple instructions come with the plugin.

The plugin also has custom tags that allow you to insert the date (#date#); URL (#url#); and author (#author#) name amongst other things rather than retyping them and risking getting them wrong.

 

7. Share And Follow

In order to give your readers a nice easy way to share your site information you need Share and Follow.

The plugin allows you to set which social media channels your readers can use to either subscribe to your site or share your information with their friends and family.

Share and Follow also allows you to choose from a number of different styles so that you can place your social media icons in page, in a widget and elsewhere depending on what you’re looking for.

1&1 My Website – The Pitfalls

1&1 my website reviewRecently in the UK there has been a large scale TV campaign for the ’1 & 1 My Website’ product which allows businesses to set up a website very quickly by picking from some pre selected templates with pre written content that can be updated if you want to.

The main attraction of this service is that it is seen as cheaper than hiring a web designer such as myself to create a site for you. The days of web design running into the thousands has thankfully long since passed us by, although it is still understandable that businesses look to save money. However in doing that many businesses do not realise that they are missing many of the opportunities available to them online.

If cost is a key factor in your decision making why not look at what we built for a customer who contacted us after considering 1&1 before seeing if we could offer a better deal. We like to think that we can offer solutions for all budgets without compromising on design and you get our personal and friendly service thrown in too!

The job of a web designer is not just to create something which looks good, but also something which can be found by your potential customers who are looking for the products and services you provide on search engines like Google and Bing. A large part of this boils down to your content and not necessarily what you write, but how you write it! Obviously there are many further aspects but this is one of the foundations of a good website.

Without having any real experience in writing content for search engines you are effectively putting the ability of your website to draw in customers at risk. Now you may see a slightly lower initial cost when setting up your website using a service like 1 & 1, but in the long term you lose out on your investment!

To highlight the dangers of using a service like this with little or no knowledge of search engine optimisation and content writing for the internet it is important to realise that one of the worst things that you can do with a website is have duplicate content, because it is frowned upon by search engines like Google and will count against your site in search results therefore reducing your exposure to potential customers. With the 1 & 1 service all sites come with pre written content specific to your industry. Now if you fail to change that content, because you don’t understand the implications of duplicate material then I’m afraid your site will not perform as it should. This is because you can guarantee that there are plenty of other businesses just like yours whose websites contain the same pre written content courtesy of 1 & 1.

If you are determined to go down this route to save money on the design then it is worth getting a web designer such as On Target to write your content for you. It may still seem like an extra cost, but if you are looking at a website as a cost to your business now rather than an investment for the future then you probably shouldn’t be getting one.

For more information on our copywriting services and how we can help your business maximise its online potential (with or without using 1 & 1 My Website) then please get in touch.

Keys To Success When Writing Content Online

The internet is a fantastic place to make a name for yourself or your business. The problem is it is massive, and full of competition. So how do you go about writing things that get you noticed and build up your profile? In this post we are going to look at some handy hints that will help you on your way.

1. Find A Topic You Love

There is nothing worse than reading something and knowing in the back of your mind that the writer themselves was bored to tears when coming up with it in the first place. You may not be able to see the emotion on their face, but you can spot it in their writing style. That it is why it is crucial to write about something that you are interested in. It gives you the opportunity not only to show off the fact that you are knowledgable but you are also able to write with a passion that is more likely to engage your reader and endear them to you in some way.

There are several keys to writing good online content that are much easier to exhibit when talking about a topic that interests you, including:

  • Knowledge
  • Understanding
  • Flair

If something interests you it’s more likely that you will research it properly giving you a greater amount of knowledge. You can show understanding because you write in a manner which explains the topic and its implications to the reader, and you can write with a flair that just isn’t possible if you don’t truly care.

2. Find A Niche Within That Topic

After choosing a subject to write about you need to think about how you are going to make what you have to say stand out from the other people who are already out there discussing it. In order to differentiate yourself you could focus on the following:

  • Style

If you are covering topics which have already been discussed look at the different ways in which you can express your information and views. Different people prefer different writing styles. How many times have you read a book by an author, and then decided to read another one by the same author? Not because the story is the same (as it wouldn’t be worth buying then would it?) but because you liked the way that they put that story together. There are hundreds of crime writers out there covering the topic of murder, but no two books are identical.

  • Sub-topics

A sub-topic is a topic within a topic. To stick with the crime writers example you have the topic of murder, and within that we have sub topics surrounding the motivation such as love, race and revenge. To delve further into a sub topic serves to differentiate yourself from other writers because it makes what you have to say more unique. One great example of this is the ‘How To’ guide. As a programmer it is not possible to know every single piece of code or function and often I find myself looking for guides on Google written by people who have overcome the same problems. If a guide is not available, and you manage to overcome a problem whatever it may be document what it was that you did and write about it. Chances are you will not be the only person who has had this problem, but you will be one of the first to publish a solution!

  • Improvement

Sticking with the ‘How To’ example from the previous point, if you come up against a problem and do find a guide online which helps you in some way to overcome that problem, look at what was missing from that guide and rewrite it. If you think that you can provide a more complete or easy to understand solution then you are probably right, and you won’t be the only person who found the previous offerings somewhat incomplete!

3. Write Without A Care

Please note this is not suggesting that you write ‘without care’ but is simply suggesting that when you write content for the internet you should write it as if you have one million readers even if you only have one hundred. Sometimes it takes time for good work to be fully appreciated (try asking Galileo!) and if you write with all the flair and quality of someone who has a million readers you’ve got more than half a chance of getting there. A small time attitude never got anybody anywhere in life and the same goes for writing online. It comes across in your writing and can either engage or disengage your reader.

4. Don’t Forget Your Keywords

Before you publish your article, whether it be about football or writing effective online content make sure it is rich with keywords (see what I did in this sentence?) that will enable your potential readers to find it. If you watched the UK version of The Apprentice in 2011 you may remember the ‘winner’ Thomas Pellereau and his back pain curing chair idea from the final show. Never once in his entire plan for his new product did he mention the word chair! Now if you were going to invent a new kind of chair, what is the one word you would expect to find plenty of times in your plans? This example just goes to show that it does happen, so make sure you re-read everything before it is published! Writing the best article in the world is a fantastic achievement, but it’s even better when people are able to read it.

5. Remember Content Is King

Whenever you are writing and get to the point where you start asking yourself ‘what is the point of this article?’ it’s time to stop. If the writer doesn’t understand the point of publishing it, then will the reader understand why you bothered? Quality content is the key to link building which in turn helps to promote your site online by boosting search engine rankings. If you publish something you don’t really understand the point of, then not only will your readers get the wrong impression about your writing but it may also put them off linking to your other better quality content as they read half of the first page they see and hit the back button and ‘get outta there‘.

 

Importance Of Link Building Explained

Link building is seen as one of, if not the most important aspect of search engine optimisation and achieveing high volumes of visitors to your website.

This article looks to explain link building in terms of web design, in order to give you a better understanding of why it is so important to the success of your website and ultimately your business.

link building

One of the easiest ways to explain how link building works is to imagine yourself as an academic researcher in a university. You are researching a cure for a tropical disease, and make some ground breaking discoveries that potentially could pave the way to saving millions of lives. After completing your research you write a paper on your findings which is published in an international medical journal.

Now with the large number of academics in your field out there, you’re article is bound to catch someones eye. Another highly regarded academic in your field decides to cite your findings in their latest research paper, acknowledging that your work has real importance within that field. Suddenly your credibility within that field has been given a little boost through their recognition of your good work.

As many other interested parties read this respected fellow academics paper they too notice the citation and as such they read your paper because it is relevant and has in effect been recommended to them.

You begin to generate more interest from these academics, some of whom also cite your work in future papers until it comes to the attention of the a wider audience who show an interest in turning your research into a product they can use to save lives.

After all that hard work has paid off, you have gained greater exposure to a wider audience and built up a strong reputation through link building.

Now I am not suggesting that your business publishes research papers, so what does this mean for you? It means that the more people (customers, suppliers etc) who link to your website, and the more relevant their websites content to your’s the higher your website will appear in search engine results therefore exposing you to more people. Search engines like Google and Bing give you ‘points’ in effect for the number of inbound links to your website, and extra ‘points’ for their relevance. The more points you have the higher up the league table you climb. And people visiting the websites that link to you may also decide to follow the link to your website, giving you extra referral traffic too!

Now for many small businesses with a local customer base the number of links required to rank highly is likely to be few if any, but they all help. Rather than produce a website with that in mind, it should be produced as if you were competing on a national or international stage to help ensure your number one status!

There are a number of key elements to link building which come down to:

  • Providing Unique Content
  • Providing Interesting Content
  • Making It Relevant

If it fails to interest someone, are they going to create a link to your website? If what you have to say repeats something which has been said hundreds of times before are people going to care enough? There have already been plenty of articles on link building and its importance, so why do you think I used my own personal analogy of the academic? Now it’s different…

By getting to know your business it is possible to highlight relevant areas of discussion which can be built into your website in order to provide you with even just a small amount of unique content which will be of use to people and can be used to ‘bait’ them for links.

The main thing to remember is be patient as link building takes time. Even if you have one hundred readers a month, write as if you have one hundred thousand and the rewards will come!

The Google Accreditation ‘Scam’

Have you recently been approached by BT about a website? Did they tell you all about the importance of search engines like Google to your business and its website? Well good, because they are very important and it would be wrong of them not to tell you.

Did they also tell you that they are accredited by Google? Very impressive you have to admit!

Well unfortunately if you’ve been caught hook, line and sinker by this very slick sales pitch, I have some terrible news for you. That accreditation (if the said company has it…) means nothing when it comes to the success of your site.

This happened recently to a company that is now a client of mine. Around the time I tendered for the business BT got in touch to sell them their web design service. Now this I have no problem with, at the end of the day it is a free country, and large or small all businesses are free to compete.

However when this particular business owner said that he was already considering an offer from another business (aka myself) the sales pitch became very heavy. Apparently because BT are ‘Google accredited’ they will be able to provide a first page ranking for the relevant keywords. The salesman turned designer also then inferred that as I had no such accreditation, I would not.

Now unfortunately this is not the case. Google is in no way influenced by ‘accreditation’ as all search results other than pay per click are achieved naturally. Anyway, how is Google to know that your site was designed by one of these ‘accredited’ companies? Unfortunately it is little more than a sales pitch designed to get the attention of those who have little or no knowledge of search engines and websites, but who do understand that it is important to have a high ranking.

Now of course when it came to the meeting I understandably had to fight my corner, and explained the facts as such. It is unfortunate that many SMEs fall into this attractive sales trap, and potentially end up with a website that fails to reach its full potential.

To highlight this point, BT gave my client the name of another company in the same business sector for whom they had done work previously. Now I will admit that they did an excellent job with the look and feel of the website, and my client based some of his original ideas on their design and layout which is credit to the designer. However when we search for a number of keywords relating to this company, in one of the 5 locations in Yorkshire where it resides we were unable to find it within the first couple of pages of Google search results.

Finally to make it a little easier we looked the company up by name, and can you guess what we found? Unfortunately for that company their website didn’t even show up in the first few pages of search results when you looked for them by name.

If you read the papers, you’ll see from time to time stories of medical professionals with degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. Did that piece of paper stop them from getting struck off for a missed diagnosis? Well, it’s the same with Google ‘accreditation’ presuming that it can and has been obtained by many of these firms. Just because they’ve paid to get it, it doesn’t mean they’re any good.

Now if that doesn’t prove my point with regards to these unscrupulous companies with their misleading and polished sales pitches backed up without substance then I don’t know what does. They have even tried to pitch their service to independent competitors offering the same service, as you see here.

And as well as being able to compete on service, as far as price is concerned once you take BT’s montly fees and minimum contract terms into account, along with charges for additional pages and every other add-on under the sun that I provide as standard where possible I was able to provide a better dealer, offering real value for money.