10 Golden Rules of Website Design

10 Golden Rules of Website Design

Key question – Who is your website for?

If you answered that it’s for your customers then go to the top of the class because all too frequently I work with websites that either have little or no focus or are simply flights of fancy for the chief executives or business owners.

The key to having a successful website is understanding what it is that your customers need to enable them to open communications, leading (hopefully) to business transactions.

I built my first commercial website in 1995 and have watched website design develop and evolve, with new technologies, user behaviours, and design trends shaping the way we create digital experiences.

Some of these new ideas have been great and have moved the design principles forward whilst many (such as scrolling images, aka scrollers, aka image carousels have seriously held good design back. Here’s my thoughts on Image Carousels.

Let’s get past trends and fashions and take a look at 10 golden rules of website design which combine timeless principles with modern considerations to ensure your website is not only visually appealing but also user-friendly, accessible, and effective at achieving its goals.

You do know what your goals for your website are, don’t you?

1/ Start with a clear purpose. 
As the old saying goes, “if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you’ve arrived?”

What do you want your website to achieve? Do you want to generate leads, sell products, or simply provide information?

Once you know your purpose, you can start to design a website that will help you achieve it. Think about the information your customers need. Group the pages together into topic/subject/project families to make it easy for customers to find the information they need. This also helps the search engines understand how your services/products sit together.


2/ Speed.
Make your website load quickly, you have no more than 3 seconds before visitors start to lose patience and return to the search engine they came from. The faster your site, the happier your visitors will be. No one wants to wait for a website to load, so make sure yours is optimised for speed. This means using small file sizes for images and videos, and minifying CSS and JavaScript code. Use the Google Speed Tool to test the speed of your website. The tool also provides hints and tips for improving performance although you might need help with the implementation.


3/ Don’t lose sight of your website’s target.
It’s very easy to do as you get deeper in to content creation. You hit your stride talking about the things you love but customers don’t need to know everything, they need to know how your products/services will make their lives better.

They want to know the benefits, what they will get out of engaging with you, not a list of the “things” you do, no matter how exciting you find it. There’s a well worn phrase that covers this, “Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak” because it’s the sizzle, the sound of hot steak, the smell of the hot steak that sets their imagination running. You can read more about this here.

Keep your audience in mind. Who are you designing your website for? What are their needs and interests? Make sure your website is easy to use and navigate, and that the content is relevant to your audience.


3/ Design
Use a clear and consistent design. Your website should have a consistent look and feel throughout, from the colours and fonts to the layout and typography. This will help your customers understand that they are still on your site, no matter how deep they get. It will help them find their way around, create a sense of visual harmony and make your website more user-friendly.


4/ Images
The Chinese reckon than 1 image is worth 1,000 words. Not only do pictures communicate concepts and ideas far faster than words they can be immediately assimilated. Pictures, used properly, also break your content up and make a page look more appealing and easier to read.

Use high-quality images and videos, preferably ones that you have taken (or had taken for you) rather than stock images that can be seen on hundreds of similar websites. 

The use of Images supports and boosts your SEO (with properly named files and effective Alt Tags) whilst videos have to be optimised in their own right for optimum “findability”. Make sure your images are high-resolution and your videos are clear and engaging. And remember, YouTube is the 2nd most searched sit on the web.


5/ Think Mobile
Over 1/2 of the visits to your website are likely to come from a mobile device, check Google Analytics data for your own website. The higher the percentage, the more you need to focus on the mobile experience ensuring your website is optimised for mobile devices. This means using a responsive design that will adjust to the size of the screen.

Don’t take it on trust from your web developer that your website “works on mobile”. It might be OK but check it yourself, or better yet, ask somebody who hasn’t been involved in the development of the site to check it out – from a customers perspective.

And Google will look at the mobile version of your website first, so a mobile focus also helps your SEO.


7/ Keep it simple.
Your website’s navigation should be easy to understand and use. Make sure your main menu is clear and concise, and that your submenus are organized in a logical way. Steer clear of using jargon in your navigation. You might know what it means but potential customers may not.

Ensure similar products and services are in groups (or families) and make sure they link to each other. This helps visitors and Google. If you have a lot of pages then use a Post-It note per page and use them to help with organisation by grouping relevant ones together.


8/ Calls to Action

Cover of Don't Make Me think by Steve Krug

Don’t leave your customers to guess what you want them to do. In his book, “Don’t make me think” by expert Steve Krug, Steve has condensed his knowledge in to the title. If a visitor to your site has to think “what’s the next step?” or “what do they want me to do now?” then you’ve already lost them. Your page has to do all the hard work, you can’t see customer’s body language and you can’t hear interest in the tone of their voice when on the phone.

To overcome this you need to use clear calls to action. Tell your visitors what you want them to do, whether it’s signing up for your email list, making a purchase, or calling you for more information. Your calls to action should be clear, concise, and easy to find.


9/ Use effective SEO. 
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website more visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). There are a number of things you can do to improve your website’s SEO, such as using relevant keywords and phrases, creating high-quality content, and building backlinks.

The starting point is understanding the words and phrases your customers are likely to use when looking for what it is you do. Then you need to embed those words and phrases in your website in the places that the search engines examine.


10/ Test and iterate. 
Once your website is up and running, don’t just sit back and wait for visitors to come. Test and iterate your website regularly to see what’s working and what’s not. This will help you improve your website over time and make it more successful.

These are just a few of the golden rules of website design for 2023. By following these principles, you can create a website that is both beautiful and functional, and that will help you achieve your business goals.


In addition to these 10 golden rules, there are a few other trends that are important to keep in mind when designing websites in 2023. These include:

  • The rise of voice search: More and more people are using voice search to find information online. This means that your website should be optimized for voice search, using clear and concise language that is easy for people to understand.
  • The importance of video: Video is becoming increasingly popular online, and it’s a great way to engage visitors and communicate your message. Make sure your website includes high-quality videos that are relevant to your content.
  • The focus on user experience (UX): User experience (UX) is more important than ever before. Your website should be easy to use and navigate, and it should provide a positive user experience.

By following these trends and principles, you can create a website that is both effective and visually appealing. This will help you attract more visitors, convert more leads, and grow your business.


What to do next. – This is the call to action for this post.
If you would like an impartial review/evaluation of your website, or are thinking about launching a new site then get in touch and I’ll be only too happy to help.

I can help with your website, your SEO, your Social Media, Email Marketing and much more and I even offer a free consultancy session. You can just drop me an email or just give me a call on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146.

The benefits of Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience and grow your business. In fact, Statista has charted the Return on Investment of Email Marketing in the UK for 2016 to 2020 and for every £1.00 spent, the ROI is over £30.

Graph of Email Marketing ROI in the UK from 2016 to 2020

In this post, I will show you some of the benefits of email marketing and how you can use it to achieve your goals.

1 . Email marketing is cost-effective.

One of the main benefits of email marketing campaigns is that they have a very high return on investment or ROI. Email marketing doesn’t cost a lot of money to start, but it can bring a lot of money in return. This makes email marketing campaigns a great opportunity to drive revenue for your business without costing you a ton of money.

2. Email marketing is personalized.

With email marketing, you can customize your campaigns and create targeted content. Personalization can be as small as including a contact’s name in the email. In fact, emails that include the first name of the recipient in their subject line have a higher clickthrough rate than those that don’t. On the other hand, you can also create individualized content based on segmenting your audience so you send the right emails to the right customers.

3. Email marketing is engaging.

Email marketing can help you engage your audience and keep them interested in your brand. You can use email marketing to share valuable information, tips, stories, news, offers, and more with your subscribers. You can also use email marketing to collect feedback and surveys from your customers and learn more about their preferences and needs.

4. Email marketing is traffic-generating.

Email marketing can help you drive more traffic to your website or online store. You can use email marketing to promote your blog posts, products, services, events, and more with links that direct your subscribers to your website. You can also use email marketing to encourage your subscribers to share your content with their friends and social networks.

5. Email marketing is measurable.

In my opinion, if you are doing marketing that you can’t measure then you should stop NOW. Email marketing allows you to track and measure the performance of your campaigns and see how they impact your business goals. You can use email marketing tools to analyse metrics such as open rates, click rates, bounce rates, conversions, revenue, and more. You can also use email marketing tools to test different variations of your emails and see what works best for your audience.


These are just some of the benefits of email marketing that you can enjoy when you use it for your business. Email marketing is a powerful and versatile tool that can help you connect with your audience and grow your business in many ways.

I hope this helps you take up Email Marketing, or to improve your current activity but if you need more help then please, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call me on 01793 238020, email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or just search Chief SEO Officer

10 Essential Web Analytics Terms You Need to Know

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) graph showing visitor data

Web analytics is the process of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data about website usage. Understanding the data will help you understand how visitors are using your website, and this is information that you can feed back into the design of your website.

To make the most of your website’s data it’s important to understand key terms like bounce rate, conversion rate, and sessions. Google Analytics is the most used by SMEs. Google Analytics 3 provides a lot of information about the way visitors use, interact with and move through a website. However, GA3 is highly reliant on tracking cookies, something that the EU have taken against on privacy grounds. As a result, at the time of writing, Google is in the middle of migrating from Google Analytics 3 (GA3) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a migration that is due to be completed by June 2023.

To help you understand the most important GA4 metrics here are 10 essential web analytics terms to get you started.

1/ Users

This is the count of visitors to your website within a specific time frame. The count starts when a visitor enters your website and ends when they leave, or after a period of inactivity, usually 30 minutes. Users numbers are important to understand, although it’s equally important to understand what they do whilst they are on your website and how long they stay on it.

2/ Pageviews

A pageview is a count of the number of times a page on your website has been viewed. This metric is useful in measuring the popularity of your content and determining which pages on your site are the most engaging. Page Views divided by Users gives you an average number of Pages Viewed per visit, To get the full benefit of this metric you need understand what you want people to do whilst they are on your site, and how many pages they have tpo visit to complete that goal. Generally speaking, the higher the average number the better but if you have a small website it’s unlikely to be more than 2 or 3.

3/ New Users

Users is the count of the total of visitors to your website over a given period of time. A “New User” is a person who visits your website for the first time within a specific time frame. New Users are important to measure because this figure counts how many different individuals are visiting your website, which is crucial in determining the success of your marketing efforts.

4/ Engagement Rate

The Engagement Rate records the number of people who actually do something when the visit your website. In GA3 the Bounce rate was the percentage of visitors who left your website after only viewing one page, the Engagement Rate is a more positive view, looking at visitors who do something. Visit another page, watch a video, spend more than 20 seconds on your site etc.

A low Engagement rate can indicate that your website is not meeting the expectations of your visitors, and they are not finding what they are looking for.

5/ Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete a specific action on your website, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. This metric is crucial in measuring the effectiveness of your website in achieving its goals. However, to be of value you must understand what it is you want your visitors to do and set the correct Goal in the “Conversions” screen.

6/ User Acquisition

This information helps you to understand how your visitors reached, or found, your website. Is your online advertising working? Are your Social Media campaigns delivering visits to your website? Is your SEO paying off?

The “User Acquisition” menu answers these questions, and more – such as which traffic source delivers the best Engagement Rate.

Core metrics include

  • Direct – Visitors who know your web address, from their “favourites”, from a business card, from a phone conversation etc.
  • Organic Search – Visits that started on a Search Engine, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo etc.
  • Paid – Traffic from Pay-per-Click Ads, such as Google and Bing Ads, Facebook Ads etc.
  • Referral – Visitors that have arrived after clicking on a link on a third party site, such as a directory site
  • Organic Social – Visitors who come from a Social Media platform, from clicking on your profile or something in your Newsfeed not after clicking on an Ad.

7/ Average Engagement Time

Time on site is the average amount of time that a user spends on your website. This metric is important in understanding the engagement level of your visitors and how interested they are in your content. LIke a lot of the metrics here, it does mean that you have to understand your website and website goals. How long does it take to get from the Landing Page to your goal page. For a small site, with just a Home Page and a Contact Page this could be a matter of a few seconds whilst for a larger, eCommerce website for example, it could be several minutes but understanding your website is key to properly understanding the Average Engagement Time.

8/ Landing Page

Google Analytics 4 Graph detailing Landing Page information

Contrary to popular belief, not all Visitors will land on your website’s Home Page. Search Engines will want to provide searchers with a link that is most appropriate to their search, for example. This makes it easier for searchers to find what they are looking for.

A well planned Ads campaign will take people directly to the page or product that most closely relates to their search.

People may also save specific pages in their Favourites.

Understanding Landing Pages and Engagement Rates for Landing Pages will enhance your understanding of the performance of your website.

9/ Tech >Device

Google Analytics 4 circular graph showing visitors by device

These days, Google search takes a Mobile First view, which means it looks at the Mobile version of your website first. However, it’s important to understand how many visitors to your site come from mobile phones, desktops and tablets because this will guide you as to the most important format for your website. For example, if only 5% of visits come from Mobile devices then you need to focus on the Desktop/Laptop version of your website but if more than 30-40% of visits originate from mobiles then you need your prime focus to be on the small screen versions of your website.

10/ Demographics/User Location

Google Analytics 4 data showing visitors by their geographic location

It is important to understand where your visitors live. If you are an exporter you need to know that people in your target markets are finding, and visiting your website and if you only trade in the UK it’s important to ensure that the majority of your Visitors come from the UK. If you receive a lot of visits from territories that you don’t serve it might be that your marketing is being sown in countries that you don’t serve and this is wasted effort and wasted money, especially if you are using paid advertising to attract people to your site.

Conclusion

Understanding these ten essential web analytics terms is crucial in optimizing your website, measuring its effectiveness, and making data-driven decisions. By analysing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into your website’s performance and can make changes that can lead to increased traffic, engagement, and sales.

I hope this list of terms is helpful and if you need help understanding what Google Analytics is telling you about your website, whether that’s GA3 or GA4 then please, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call me on 01793 238020, email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or just search Chief SEO Officer

Using Twitter Lists to Save Time

Using Twitter Lists to Save Time

Twitter’s great, isn’t it? Really good for keeping in touch with your Followers, for keeping up with the latest news, raising awareness of your business, demonstrating that you know your stuff and acting as the starting point for conversations that could lead to business.

But if you’re following more than 100 people it can become quite a challenge to find Tweets from people that are of particular interest due to the speed your Twitter news-feed fills up with new Tweets.

But there is a solution that makes things so much easier – and it’s called Twitter Lists

What is a Twitter List

Simply put, Twitter Lists are like filters. You add people you follow (and you can add people you don’t follow too – more on that in a bit) and when you only want to see their Tweets, you simply choose the relevant list and all the Twitter noise from everyone else is immediately filtered out, just leaving you with updates from people on your lists.

For example, I have a F1 List so when I want to catch up on the latest Formula One news, I go to my F1 list and all I see are Tweets from the people that I have added to that List, all of whom are involved in F1 in one way or another.

Types of Lists

There are two types of lists, public and private. A Public List is one that all Twitter uses can see and a Private List can only be accessed by yourself. The types of lists that you could have include.

  • Current Clients,
  • Previous Clients,
  • Suppliers,
  • Prospects,
  • Affiliates,
  • Partners,
  • Influencers,
  • Local Community,
  • Friends,
  • Family,
  • Topics of Interest,
  • TV Shows

If these were my lists, then I’d set the business-related ones to “Private” so that my competitors can’t easily see who my clients are etc.

Now, when I want to interact with my clients to see what they’ve said, and to add my own thoughts/comments all I have to do is click on the relevant list and the rest of the Twittersphere goes away.

Making your First Twitter List

Click on the “More” link on the LH side of your Twitter Page (Desktop/Laptop) and this opens a new menu. Simply click “Lists” to get into your Twitter Lists.

If you don’t have any Lists, or want to start a new one, click this icon at the top of your screen, give your new List a name, add a description if you want to and you’re good to go. There’s a final option here, “Make Private” this means that only you will be able to see the List and the accounts that you have added, unlike a regular List which is visible to all Twitter users.

If you are using your phone, all you have to do is click on your Avatar or personal picture at the top of your profile to open a similar menu, and “Lists” is right there.

Once you have given your List a name (and a Description should you wish) then just click “Next” and Twitter will show you a box which will enable you to add people to your list.

Conduct a search and when you come across someone you want to add just click on “Add” and that account will be added to your list.

Adding People to your List from your newsfeeds

When you are reading Tweets and come across someone that you’d like to add to one of your Lists, all you need to do is click on the three dots menu that’s at the top right of every individual Tweet (on desktops/laptops AND mobiles) and use the “Add or Remove from Lists” option. If you have more than one list, you’ll be asked to choose which List or Lists you want them added too.

How do I see what people on my lists are sharing?

All you have to do is head back to the menu on the LH side of your Twitter news feed, click “More” and then” Lists” or, on your Phone, access the menu that you get from clicking on your image/avatar and select “Lists”. You’ll be presented with all of your lists, and you just click the list you want to see.

See, it’s easy and a really useful way to manage your Twitter followers.

Advanced List Use

When you follow someone, they receive a notification that you have followed them and so they might follow you back, but they might be a competitor and you don’t want them to know you are Following them. So, don’t follow them, just add them to a List, and make it Private.

Look at other Twitter users Lists.

If you look at someone’s profile, you’ll be able to see how many Lists they have simply by clicking the 3-dot menu by the “Notification” bell icon.

Click on “Lists” and you’ll see their Lists and who they have added to their Lists.

If you see a List you like the look of, just click on “Follow” and this third party List will be added to your Lists and you can access it in the same way that you access any of your Lists

What’s Next

Go away, set up some lists for yourself, add some people and have a bit of a play to get the hang of the way they work. You can thank me for saving you lots of time later.

Joking aside, if you do need any help with Twitter, Social or SEO just give me a call on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146 email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or share your question with me on Twitter or LinkedIn and I’ll be delighted to assist.

Does your Website need a Winter Website Workout

Woman running over a bridge to get her FREE Website Workout

It’s the new year. Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Was one of them to go to the gym to get fitter and lose that Christmas podge?

Well, your website is not dissimilar. Over the years that you’ve had it, it’s hopefully been updated, edited, had new content added and irrelevant content removed. But is it still contiguous?

When was the last time you went through it,

  • Page by page,
  • Link by link to make sure that everything is still working,
  • Word by Word to ensure all the words still send the right message,
  • Image by Image to make sure your pictures are fresh, relevant and up to date,
  • To check that the navigation doesn’t take the visitor to the wrong page – or even worse a 404 error page,
  • To ensure that everything loads in under 3 seconds,
  • Checking that your shopping cart (if you have one) still works,
  • That your shopping cart is easy and logical to use (make a trial process or better still ask somebody unrelated to your business to make a trial purchase)
  • That the whole transaction process still functions as designed
  • And it’s really easy to use on a small screen (mobile)?

Oh, and the SEO is still top-notch, you’re using the right keywords, your Header Tags are using relevant Key Words, your Meta Title and Meta Descriptions are the right length and not duplicated, that your images have SEO relevant file names, all images have Alt-Tags and all images are of an appropriate size. That your content has keywords featured in the top one or two paragraphs but that keywords are not overly repeated. That nothing’s been missed, no stone left unturned, and your links to your Social Media profiles still work.

It’s so easy to take these things for granted, to trust that your developer has done their job but such complacency could lead to a decline in your business because you’ll never find out until it’s too late. Nobody will tell you if they encounter a problem, they’ll just go to their search engine of choice, probably Google, and look for somebody else to service their need.

How do you check your own website

Option One

Get your FREE* Winter Website Workout.

Unlike a lot of website SEO evaluations, mine will be carried out by me, not by a machine, so I’ll come back with a far better evaluation and detailed list of recommendations that you can carry out, that you can pass to your developer or you can ask me to implement. And if you book your *Website Workout by the end of January 2023 you’ll get 100% of the cost back if you choose to let me take on your SEO.

Option Two

Carry out the in-depth Website Workout yourself (but you might slip up if you are overly familiar with your site so getting a third party to do it for you is always the best option

Option Three

Get in touch to talk about other options. I can help with your website, your SEO, your Social Media, Email Marketing and much more and I even offer a free consultancy session, or you can just drop me an email or just give me a call on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146.

Help! I’ve got an invisible website, what should I do?

Person wondering how to get their website found on the World Wide Web

1/ Panic?

2/ Wait and Hope?

3/ Start Again?

4/ Call an expert?

You’ve had a website for years, you’ve just updated your website or you’ve just launched your website and are worried that your website is invisible and your customers won’t be able to find it. What can you do, what should you do and what must you do?

Don’t panic, this simple guide will take you through the steps you must take to ensure that Google can find your website in the online jungle, how to make your site visible in Google search and even point the way to creating a website that actually works, rather than just look good. And if all else fails, or you want to shortcut the process – just get in touch and I’ll step in and help out.

How does Google find your site?

A robot, but not a search engine robot
Not a Search Engine Robot

Let’s start with Google Search – used by over 90% of people who use a search engine, and that’s around 80% of web users so that’s a lot of people. Google uses software called Robots to scour websites. They send these Robots out on the World Wide Web to find as many websites as possible. They do this by following the links between websites, the Robots look at all of the pages they can find and take all of the information back to the massive Google database of websites, Google calls this database their “Index”.

If you don’t have any links (Backlinks) to your website there is a very real danger that Google will miss your site so you need to install the free Google Analytics website performance tool and sign up to the free Google Search Console. This brings your site to the attention of Google and guarantees a visit from the Robots. However, this does not guarantee that your site will feature in the search results – it needs quality, non-spammy content for that and even this does not guarantee a place ion the top pages. You need SEO for that

How does Google rate your site?

Google's logo. The target for SEO
The Google Logo

Google wants to understand the purpose of every singe page of your website. To do this, it needs to be able to visit every page. This requires good navigation links on your site AND, if you have a large site, the use of an XML Sitemap so that Google, and all the other search engines, can find all of your pages.

Then, once your pages are in the Index it’s ready to be found. When somebody searches for the services you provide or the products you sell, Google checks its Index for all the words that have been entered in the search box. It very quickly finds all of the pages in the Google Index and applies an algorithm to those results. The algorithm is a set of mathematical tools, instructions and filters that measures every page of each website by looking at more than 200 different signs and signals and the results that most closely match the search terms appear at the top of the Search Results Pages (Page 1) and the poorer the match, the farther down the results the sites appear. And remember only about 50% of search users EVER make it to Page 2 whilst just 10% make it to P3 and beyond. Making P3 a great place to bury bad news.

How do you make your website more visible

First off, make sure your website is fast (if it’s slow people won’t stay so it doesn’t matter how great, or naff, your site is you’ve already hampered your business). Then ensure that it’s full of great relevant content with positive calls to action. Your website MUST be for your site visitors and clients and “created to help users” – that’s directly from Google. This means that each page must be user centred and designed to –

  • share information about a topic
  • share personal or social information
  • share pictures, videos or other forms of media
  • express an opinion or point of view
  • entertain
  • sell products or services
  • allow users to post questions for other users to answer
  • allow users to share files or download software
  • provide something of similar quality
Google Analytics Logo, Analytics is essential for your website and SEO
Google Analytics Logo

Next up is to install the free Google Analytics tracking software that will help you understand how well your website is performing with your customers. Then authenticate with the Google Search Console, another free tool from Google that will give an insight into what Google thinks of your website.

By doing this, you bring your website to the attention of Google which means they know where to send their Robots to Spider your website and take everything back in to the Google Index.

Now it’s time to build your Google My Business (GMB) profile to help Google understand your NAP, that’s your Name, Address & Phone Number. Once you’ve completed your GMB profile you should register with a number of key web based directory websites.

In the meantime you should be adding fresh, new, relevant and search engine optimised content. That’s because people love new stuff, and so does Google – it informs Google that your website is active and your business is still trading. It also demonstrates your EAT to Google, that’s your Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. If you are in the financial sector you need to be concerned with Google’s YMYLYour Money or Your Life.

YMYL content is content that impacts on a reader’s happiness, health, safety or financial stability which, if presented incorrectly, might have a direct, negative, impact on people’s lives

Writing something new about once a month should do it – keep your eyes open for my forthcoming post that’ll be all about writing great, search optimised, content for your website and if you need any help with your content, your SEO or anything else to do with your digital marketing, you know to do.

A big Thumbs Up for Social Media
Social Likes

And not forgetting your Social Media. Every time you create new content don’t forget to share it on your Socials. That helps spread the word and the right posts, of the right content, will attract visits to your website. Google Analytics will show you which platforms are delivering the best traffic. As well as your Socials, don’t forget email and video marketing as well as podcasts.

And if you don’t have the time or need professional help, I am just a call or an email away.

Call me on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146, drop me a line, andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or book a free 40 minute consultancy session for an informal, free chat about your issues and how I may be able to help.

Domain Name Nightmares

I was reading the news a couple of weeks ago and was delighted to learn of a mobile pizza maker. Based in South Wales, they have their van, a wood fired pizza oven and serving counters and were ready to go. Providing wonderful, freshly baked pizza at a wide variety of locations. Parties, gigs, weddings etc.

Tasty slice of pizza. Not from the Welsh Italian Pizza Company
Tasty slice of pizza

Who was it? The Welsh Italian Pizza Company, that’s who. So why were they in the news?

For a lack of thought. They simply decided to use the company name as their web domain without looking at it in print first. Say it – the Welsh Italian Pizza Company, sounds OK doesn’t it. Now look at it, as they registered it for their website – https://welshitalianpizza.co.uk

All of a sudden their pizzas look a lot less appetising.

They are not the first to have fallen in to this domain name nightmare. It’s so easy to choose a new domain name, register it, build a website and start the marketing. However, if you don’t look at your domain name in print AND talk about it first you could find your self with something as problematic as the Welsh Italian Pizza’s

Phones4U logo

Something that looks good, or cool, in print may not sound so smart and something that sounds clever may not look like a wise decision when written down. I think I first thought about it when Phones4U (remember them) started really pushing their mobile phone stores. It looked cool in print, tapping in to the shortening of words that the young had chanced on so that they could make the most of the limited characters allowed in SMS messages (maximum 140 back in the day). It tapped in to the zeitgeist of the time. But imagine trying to communicate the domain name in a phone call. “Yes, just visit our website at ‘phones’ – with a PH not an F – unlike that other giant, Vodafone. 4, that’s the number four, the digit, not the word and U, the letter U not the word, dot com”

All of a sudden, something simple has become quite a mouthful and quite challenging to communicate. Thankfully, Phones4U were able to throw a vast amount of money at advertising, which must have gone someway towards overcoming this challenge. However, it didn’t stop them from falling in to administration in 2014.

Then there’s award winning, London based video maker, producer and director. He called his business Speed of Art, so went for https://speedofart.com. Not quite so clever now, although I don’t think the owner really cares because, the last time I looked, he’d retired. Not only is there a problem with the domain name, but part of his target market was large organisations and many of them would use filters to prevent employees looking at unsuitable websites. The speedo bit would be OK but I don’t think the rest would get through the filter.

There’s a London based Cloud computing accountancy solutions provider caller XERO (pronounced Zero). Yep, looks good in print but in their radio adverts they have to say “visit us at Xero.com with an X”, and then sound out the spelling, “X.E.R.O. dot com”.

There are loads more. However probably the worst was for a Californian therapy/therapist directory because everybody in California needs a therapist, right? But how do you find one? Well, you go the therapist directory website https://therapistfinder.com don’t you? Thankfully, they spotted their error (although not until a couple of years had passed) and changed it to https://therapist-finder.com, although the site is now defunct.

Along the way there have been some excellent spoofs too. There was the Italian Electricity Generating company, PowergenItalia.com. This was claimed to be genuine for a number of years but was eventually shown up to be a spoof. And finally, for now, corporate pen company, Pen Island who sell through https://penisland.net

Pen Island Pens

Domain names like this not only distract from the marketing but also cause SEO confusion because the search engines have to guess the words from the alphabet-soup of letters and yet the solution is simple, use a hyphen or two, and the intention is immediately visible, speed-of-art.com and pen-island.net for example.

The moral of this post is simple, when thinking of a new domain name, make sure that it looks good in print and is easy to communicate verbally and if it’s not, then go back to the drawing board.

I might not be able to undo any domain names that you have registered but I can certainly help with the majority of internet marketing issues that you have, so why not give me a call on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146, drop me a line, andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or book a free 40 minute consultancy session for an informal and free chat about your issues and how I may be able to help.

14 SEO Myths

Finger Pointing at a search bar

I started providing SEO services in 2001 and things were a lot simpler than they are now. Back then it was all about keywords. Keywords in the Keyword Meta Tag, keywords in the Meta Title and Meta Description and Keywords liberally scattered throughout the content.

Then people came up with ways to “game” the system, to effectively cheat the search engines into giving them a better result than they were probably due. If you’d like to learn about one of these Black Hat techniques you should read my post on Keyword Stuffing.

Since those early cowboy days of SEO, many things have changed. The profession has cleaned up its game (although Black Hat SEO still exists if you want to cheat the system and eventually get kicked out of the Search Engine Results Pages – SERPs) and the search engines regularly update their algorithms – the software that decided where a website deserves to sit in the Results pages.

As things have changed, the number of SEO myths has grown and these are the ones that I most frequently encounter

SEO Myth 1 – It’s no longer about keywords

This has been around for a while now. Not only does Google examine more than 200 “signals” when ranking websites it frequently tweaks theses “signals” to ensure that you and I get the most relevant results for our searches. Every time something changes, a crowd of people claim that “Keywords are dead” or “SEO is dead”. Well, I’m here to tell you keywords are NOT dead and neither is SEO.

In fact, keywords are the fundamental rock on which all SEO is based. There’s no magic or mystery about them, they are simply the words you and I enter into our web browser when searching for something and so it’s critical that these words and phrases are embedded in your website, in the places the search engines look. This enables Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, etc to match searches to relevant websites

SEO Myth 2 – it’s ALL about keyword density

If you carry out a web search for “Keyword Density” you’ll find a number of sites telling you that the ideal keyword density is between 4 and 5%. This means that for every 100 words on your web pages, 4-5 of them should be keywords.

Please don’t pay ANY attention to this. If you do, you’ll fall foul of one of the cardinal rules of web development, that your website is for the visitors to your site and search engines are simply a tool to deliver those clients and prospects to your site.

If you focus on keyword density, and other SEO focused metrics, you’ll have switched content focus from creating great content for site visitors to creating content for the search engines and your content will suffer. I have worked with many sites that have fallen down this particular rabbit hole. Their site has ranked really well in the search results, the search results have delivered many visits but those visitors have left the site very quickly (Bounced in Google Analytics terms) because the content wasn’t focused on their needs.

Back-links, hyperlinks published on third party websites that bring people to your website are the foundations on which Google was built. Originally called “Back Rub”, Google originally ONLY ranked sites based on the volume of backlinks. The thinking was pretty simple. If I link from my site to yours then I must believe that something on your site will be of interest/value to visitors to my site and, like any good democracy, the more votes (backlinks) your website has, the more popular and better it must be.

When Google was launched, backlinks remained a fundamental way that it ranked websites (and it remains so today). As a consequence, a whole industry built up around providing backlinks, including “Link Farms”. Web pages that just looked like phone directories, with each page simply featuring hundreds of links to websites. In the early days, this was quite successful and you could buy thousands of links for a few hundred dollars.

That was until Google realised that quality was far more important than quantity and started analysing where the backlinks originated. From then on, purchased backlinks became a major no-no. Backlinks MUST be relevant, so a link from your local butchers to a website providing marketing services is not relevant, for example.

For the butcher’s example above, it’s not likely to attract a direct penalty but will probably just be ignored by Google so the effort expended on acquiring that link will have been wasted.

If you take it to the next level and start purchasing links, Google WILL find out and your website will be penalised by being pushed DOWN in the results pages. This could be critical, with only 50% of search engine users ever going beyond the first page of results and just 10% making it to page 3 and beyond, a demotion to page 5 is almost as bad as being deleted.

Myth 4 – posting the same content on many different sites will boost your ranking

“Back in the day” it was common for a blog article to be posted on a number of websites that claimed to be regularly visited by journalists, and so promised a lot of “eyes on” fresh articles. The publisher’s dream was that they’d be contacted by journalists for more information. The goal being to be mentioned in an article that gets published by the national, mainstream, media amplifying the visibility of the business. The reality was than no journalists visited these sites and the actual goal was to simply build backlinks.

As Google improved its technology it recognised these for what they were, backlink building opportunities, and woe betide your website if you had had the temerity to pay to have your post published.

From here, another myth developed, that multiple placements of identical content will be penalised. Myth 14 explains this one in more details

SEO Myth 5 – You have to write at least 1,200 words on every page for optimum SEO

If you read enough posts about SEO you will ultimately come across one that talks about the number of words contained on pages that come up in Position 1 on Page 1 of Google’s search results pages. (The holy grail of SEO if you like).

Typically they’ll tell you that top pages contain 1,200, 1,600, or even 2,000 words. That’s a LOT of writing, but don’t despair. You don’t have to write so many, or you can write many more. The reality is that there is no magic “ideal” word count that will get you on the first page of the search results. It’s much more about relevance and quality.

Look at it this way. If I tell you, or you read, that your page has to contain 1,200 words, you’re going to write 1,200 words no matter what. And if you only need 600 then your page is going to be so full of padding and filler that even were your page to feature highly in the search results and attract loads of visits, no one is going to read it.

And at the other end of the scale, if you actually need 3,000 words to get your message across and you’ve heard that the ideal page is 1,200 you’re going to edit the heck out of your content and you’ll probably remove most of the value. So, again, even if your page features highly in the results and you get loads of visits, most won’t stay because the content doesn’t make a great read.

What’s the solution?
The simple solution is to write as many (or as few) words as you need to communicate your message and sell your idea. My only caveat, if you have to write a lot of words you either need to be a very good and persuasive writer OR hire a copywriter to do the work for you.

SEO Myth 6 – SEO is dead

At least once a year someone pontificates that “SEO is dead” and I worry about my future. Then I relax and realise that SEO has quite a few years to go yet. it’s a long way from being an Ex-SEO, left this mortal coil, kicking up the daisies and every other quote from Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot” sketch.

Work is required, and will always be required, to ensure that your website is as #SEOFriendly as possible so that it appears as high in the search listings as possible and drives sufficient traffic to your website

Headstone with the words "RIP SEO"

SEO Myth 7 – It’s all about Social Media these days

It’s really easy to believe, that with over 2.3Bn active users, Facebook has removed the need for a website and so SEO is no longer required.

If you follow this path, you’ll be missing out. In the UK about 32m people use Facebook. With about 90% of the UK population using the internet, ( that’s about 58.5m people) you’ll be missing 26.5m people.

And that’s just the people who don’t use Facebook Lots of Facebook users (about 70%) still turn to search engines when looking for the things they want or need. So, it’s not all about Social Media, if you just do Social, then you are missing a huge audience.

SEO Myth 8 – Pictures don’t do anything to help your SEO

Although the search engines are slowly rolling out Artificial Intelligence to help then understand the content of a picture, your images contribute greatly to the optimisation of a web page.

However, you need to optimise your pictures properly. The file size has to be small enough so as not to slow your pages down, need to have SEO optimised image names, AND have optimised Alt Tags. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive my free e-Guide to image optimisation.

#UseMorePictures

SEO Myth 9 – SEO is a secret magic masked by smoke and mirrors

When SEO was growing in awareness, a lot of people delivering the service hid their actions behind smoke and mirrors, making it appear as if it was something mystical, something that could only be implemented by members of some deeply secret inner circle.

I think the main reason for this was to mask their techniques (some of which may have been gaming the system for quick results but which would lead to penalties being applied) AND so that these cowboys could charge more for their services.

The reality is that EVERYTHING you need to know is “out there” on the internet if you know where to look and who to trust. But do you want to spend time learning about SEO, sorting the wheat from the chaff and then learning how to implement it on your website AND keep it up to date or would you rather bring in someone who knows what they are doing, leaving you to do what you’re good at? Running your business, converting leads into sales, and making a profit?

SEO Myth 10 – It’s not a problem if your website is slow to load

Website Speed Test Results

It’s a HUGE problem if your website is slow to load. 3 seconds is the goal – why?

The internet has robbed people of their attention span. Most people simply won’t wait any more than 3 seconds for a web page to open. If it’s slow, they’ll simply go elsewhere.

And it’s worse than that. You have about 2/10s of a second for people to “Get” what your site offers and if they don’t “get” it almost straight away, they will head off elsewhere.

Because of this, Google will push slow sites down the results pages. After all, thee’s no point sending people to a website if all they are going to do is come back to their search results to go somewhere else.

A slow website is one of the reasons behind a high Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

SEO Myth 11 – You Must have perfect SEO to rank on Page 1

With Google examining more than 200 “signals” to determine where your site comes up in the search results pages, and the majority of those being known ONLY by Google thee is no way that your SEO can ever be perfect.

And you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better than your competitors. That’s why I’ll look at your competitors if I am working on your SEO to see what can be done to beat them.

And if you strive for perfection, you might never get anything completed. remember, perfection is the enemy of good.

SEO Myth 12 – Running a Google Ads campaign will boost your SEO

Google Ads and Google Search are two totally separate parts of Google and there is NO interlinking at all so running a large (or small) Google Ads campaign is NOT going to improve your SEO.

It will, however, give you a quick opportunity to get your business to the top if the first page of search results (In the Ads section) if you need quick traffic to your website

SEO Myth 13 – SEO is a one-time thing

No, no, and thrice no. SEO is constantly changing and you (or your search optimiser) should constantly be looking for ways to improve your SEO. After all, if you started out and were better than your competitors (See Myth 11) and they improve their SEO, they will outrank you so you need to stay on top of things.

SEO Myth 14 – Google will penalise your site for duplicate content

Myth 4 looked at the posting of content on a variety of websites with the aim of building backlinks to your website.

From this came conversations that if Google caught you doing this then they would penalise your website. This simply isn’t true. However, a very real danger of having multiple copies of the same thing is that it will dilute your search results because Google won’t know which is the most important page.

So, examine your content, and if you have more than one copy of the same thing then you need to let Google know which is the most important and the Canonical tag is the way to do this.

A canonical tag (aka “rel canonical”) is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or “duplicate” content appearing on multiple URLs

Thanks for reading and remember, if you have any problems with your SEO please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’ll be only too happy to answer any questions that you might have

Find me:         https://www.seo.enterprise-oms.uk/  |  andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk
Follow me:     Twitter ¦ Linkedin
Phone me:      01793 238020 ¦ 07966 547146

Domain Name Nightmares Pt 2

WWW representing the World Wide Web

Domain names, essential for your web presence. Ideally they should look good, sound good and properly represent your business. But not everybody gets it right.

I last wrote about Domain Name Nightmares in 2014, looking at how easy it was to make an absolute pigs ear of your online presence if you weren’t careful. How difficult can it be, after all, all you have to do is think of a name, just think of something and Bob’s your dad’s brother.

But it’s not quite that simple. If you don’t pay attention to how your domain name will be shared then there’s a whole pit of vipers waiting for you. At the bare minimum you need to see how your chosen name looks in print AND listen to how it sounds when being shared verbally. Why? Well, way before 2014 I was sharing some absolute howlers with delegates to my SEO workshops, domains that were both funny and cringeworthy at the same time, and things haven’t really moved on much.

Some of the examples of Domain Name Nightmares back then were real and some were spoofs. How about TherapistFinder, a directory site for therapists in California. Once they understood how easily it could be misconstrued they changed it to Therapist-Finder.com after a couple of years.

Then there was Powergenitalia.com (later proved to be a spoof site) and Pen Island, a site (apparently) selling promotional pens with the unfortunate domain name of penisland.net. Easily solved with a hyphen, Pen-Island.net or simple capitalisation, PenIsland, when representing the domain in print.

Pen Island Pens logo

And another, there’s the website for finding theatrical agents. Imagine, you want to see who represents your favourite star, or you are looking to break in to the industry. You might turn to a site called Who Represents. However, if you only saw the web address, you might think they were offering something different, a more “adult” service if you like. whorepresents.com

There are many more but I’m going to finish with speedofart.com – a site for a successful video director that would have benefitted from hyphens for visual clarity speed-of-art.com. Now, it looks much clearer in print but suffers, conversationally, when networking for example. “My website, yes, it’s at speed hyphen of hyphen art dot com. Yes, that’s hyphen as in dash, not an underscore“.

I imagine that all of these sites, excluding the spoof ones, came about either because someone simply took a pre-existing business name and went for the option that they felt made most sense, without giving it due consideration or picked something that either sounded great OR looked great in print but did not consider both options.

The problem has never really gone away, I was reminded of it a couple of years ago when I was listening to a commercial radio station and heard an advert for a web based service. The were (and still are) a Cloud based company. The brand was promoted, the benefits proclaimed and, right at the end, there was the pitch which involved the the company’s domain name. It was spoken and then spelled out – just to make sure people reached the right website.

It was for the business software vendor Xero (pronounced Zero.com) so the ad ended with “visit ZERO.com, that’s X E R O dot com”. Not only does the listener have to remember the brand but they have to remember that its not spelled the way it sounds.

Recently I’ve been hearing ads for a website that makes it easier for businesses to find Council, NHS and Government contracts. The web address is opportuni.com, a combination of letters that looks quite good in print but fails conversationally. We are used to the word Opportunity but Opportuni just doesn’t sound right, so, again, at the end of the ad the domain name has to be spelled out in the hope that people will either remember it or write it down.

Two women with a Chromebook

And there’s more. Finance site Cufflink, well that’s what it sounds like during the ad, it’s only when they get to the end that they say “Cufflink, that’s KUFLINK.com. So, again. if you are interested, not only do you have to remember a word that is unfamiliar to many but you have to remember the unconventional spelling, not only has the C been replaced by a K but there’s only one F.

And I’m not even going to make much of Gollgi, Click, sorry Qlik or Clear, sorry Klear and I’m sure there are loads of others that I’ve not heard of

So, please, when choosing a name for your new business, or when planning on launching a new brand, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give due consideration to your web address. Think about how it looks in print and how easy is it to share, in a memorable way, with people who are unfamiliar with what you do. Remember, there’s a danger in trying to be too KlevR.

And if you need help with web addresses or with anything else to do with your internet activity please, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call me on 01793 238020, email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or just search Chief SEO Officer

What does your Phone Number tell people about your business

For years and years the Americans have been very clever with phone numbers, using words to make them memorable, 1-800-468 3647* is quite tough to remember, but using the letters on a phone pad it instantly becomes 1-800 Hot Dogs, which is far more memorable. I also reckon that it made for quite a fight between businesses and telephone companies for the best numbers. The best we seemed to manage in the UK was the fight for “special” numbers – such as 0800 123123

And then came the mobile phone explosion, and the numbers you used were the ones handed out by your mobile phone company, there was no choice. Well, there was, but you had to hunt it down and “special” mobile phone numbers were expensive, because the providers knew the value.

For a long time, companies would display both landline and mobile numbers – and quite a few still do. However, for the last 5 years (maybe more) I have noticed that a lot of companies only use their mobile number. This is possibly sole traders and other businesses who work from home, or a home office. It enables them to easily keep business telephony separate from private. I’ve worked with many people who have 2 mobile phones, 1 for business and the other for personal calls.

A sign written van with just a mobile phone number

I’ve noticed that more and more sign written vans only have a mobile number on them, and in my opinion, this is a missed opportunity. And there are still people who won’t trust a company that only uses a mobile number simply because it used to shout “rogue trader” or similar, a company lacking any form of physical base.

Why should a mobile only number be a missed opportunity?

Simply put, a mobile phone is harder to remember than a geographic number. Mainly because we are familiar with geographic numbers, the one for our region for example. We might also be familiar with surrounding regional numbers and those from the major cities too, 020 for London and 0117 for Bristol for example). This familiarity makes a landline number easier to remember because all you have to do is remember the region and a 6 or 7 digit number (Swindon 123456 for example).

And this is the next benefit. If I see a tradespersons’ sign written van and it has a landline and mobile number, I’ll instantly know whether they are local to me, or “just visiting” and I’ll be far more likely to contact a local trade than one based elsewhere.

But landlines have their own issues too. If you change phone providers, move from one exchange region to another or move from one office to another you may not be able to “take” your landline number with you. This means you’ll have to update websites, your Socials, letter heads, compliment slips, business cards etc. Which is a very good reason for just using a mobile number.

Is there a better way to use phone numbers?

Get an IP (Internet Protocol) phone number. An IP number is a virtual phone number. It’s not associated with any telephone exchange but is based in the Internet. You can have a physical desk phone (but you need one that’s IP Phone capable, not a cheap £10 phone from Amazon). You can use your PC/Laptop/tablet instead. Simply set up an IP Phone App and configure it correctly, have a headset and microphone (Bluetooth is great) and your “good to go”. You can even take IP calls on your mobile phone, yes really. I’ve used a Sipgate number for more than 10 years now. 01793 238020. It’s moved with me from an office, to working from home and then when I got a different office it “came” with me too. I could have gone with Vonage, who offer a similar service. If you are a larger business, you might need something more sophisticated, and there are plenty to choose from and now the Video Conference provider, Zoom, has launched a very competitively priced IP Phone service too. Read about IP telephony on the Money Supermarket website.

And, best of all, when you move location you don’t have to do anything at all. Your phone number comes with you, wherever you choose to go. All you need is an internet connection.

You could even get an IP phone number for the next town/city that you want to expand in to, giving you a virtual presence there and making it even easier for potential clients to contact you.

If you need help with your telephony then I probably know enough to be able to point you in the right direction and if you need assistance with your SEO, Email Marketing, Social media or any other type of online marketing activities then I can definitely help you so you really should get in touch – even if it’s just for a free consult. You can call me on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146, email andy@enterprise-oms.co.uk or book a slot using my calendar and we’ll take it from there

*(1-800 being the US equivalent of a free phone number, known in the States as a Toll Free Number)