You need a website. One option is to use a Content Management System to build it. Using a CMS involves selecting pre-designed or custom-made templates for your website, as opposed to coding your entire website from scratch. You can publish a website without needing to know a thing about acronyms…
There’s an app for that... and that… yes, and that too. There’s an app for just about everything these days, which is no wonder businesses want to get in on the hip and ‘appening trend of app development. But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are…
Content marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool when used correctly. The web is literally packed with content, so standing out can be difficult... unless you create engaging and effective content that your intended audience will search for and find useful. Where do you even start? We're going to run…
We all remember the time when the # symbol was known as the number sign, and was more likely to be seen in a spreadsheet than on a social network, but the time has come to put this tiny symbol into action for you and your business. Here is our…
Having a call to action (otherwise known as a CTA) is an important aspect of any business website. If you are unsure about what a call to action actually is – it is essentially a goal or action you wish your visitors to complete once they arrive on your website.…
A SERP, or search engine results page, is the page returned by search engines, like Google, when someone searches for a particular keyword. Websites interested in getting more traffic must strive to appear on page number one of search engines for keywords that are relevant to their content and/or products…
If you're looking for effective marketing solutions for your business, then it’s time to leap into the digital world. Digital marketing has been replacing many traditional forms of marketing, so being aware of all the digital marketing opportunities is crucial for business success. Here are four effective digital marketing solutions…
Johannesburg, Gauteng – Representatives from Flicker and Digital Leap have announced that the two companies have merged on 1 March 2017, resulting in Flicker Leap. Flicker is a leading force in digital strategy and marketing, while Digital Leap’s expertise lies in superior web design, bespoke development and inbound marketing. Both…
It’s always a bit frustrating when people throw acronyms around like balls you’re expected to catch. The tech industry loves different languages (excuse the pun), so the best way to keep up is to learn and understand all the jargon. No one wants to get left behind in the tech…
When it comes to social media, the first places we often think of are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Although a top contender in the grand scheme of platforms, many businesses put the image sharing site, Pinterest, much lower on their priorities list. It shouldn't be this way though and it's time to start adding it to your marketing strategies. Here's why...
According to a 2016 HubSpot report, 74% of survey participants said that one of their top priorities over the next 12 months is to focus on generating more leads into loyal customers. But what exactly are leads and how can you avoid making easy but silly lead generation mistakes? Here…
- “I never realised how uncomplicated it was to register a unique domain name on WordPress. I could choose a .com, .net, .org or .me domain and get going right away.”
- “When I started my business I was advised to create a WordPress website. I am so glad I listened. It was straightforward to create and it is simple to manage.”
- “I can’t imagine using anything other than the WordPress platform. It’s so powerful, yet so easy to use.”
- “Our web designer is so happy with the wide array of high quality themes to choose from on WordPress. It makes it a lot easier to create a site that is unique to our brand.”
- “The stats we get from WordPress are so helpful in determining what our readers are consuming, and this helps us to continuously improve our website.”
- “If I ever have an issue with our site, the guys at WordPress are always available to help me.”
- “Our new WordPress website looks spectacular on web and mobile.”
It sounds quite impressive, but what is WordPress? It is an open source website creation tool written in PHP. Many consider it to be one of the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management systems (or CMS) available. With WordPress, you can create almost anything. Whether you need a business site or blog, this is the web development tool that you need. It has mistakenly be classified as a blogging platform only, but its evolution over the years has made it indispensable in creating fully functional websites and mobile applications.
Developed in 2003, it is now extremely popular with over 70 million websites using WordPress. Some the brands that use WordPress are TED, TechCrunch, Mashable and CNN. Over 25% of the web runs on WordPress. There are also many South African sites built with WordPress.
That’s all fine and well, but you’re probably wondering how it compares to other publishing platforms? You’ll notive the popularity of WordPress if you take a look at the Google Trends chart, which compares WordPress to other leading platforms like Blogger, Drupal and SharePoint.
The simplicity and versatility of WordPress is a winning combination. There are hundreds of themes and over 48 000 plugins available to suit every need. Even yours.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at seven reasons why you should use WordPress:
1.It gives you freedom (remember, it’s open source)
2.It’s easy to use and learn
3.It’s extendable by using themes and plugins
4.It’s SEO (search engine optimisation) friendly
5.It’s easy to manage
6. It’s safe and secure
7. It can handle different media types
The truth is: SEO needn’t be an expensive secret mission. Essentially, SEO is optimising your site in order to rank higher on search engines, most notably Google. Doesn’t sound too complicated, does it? Let’s uncover some secrets in order to gain a better understanding of SEO. It’s time to push your website up a notch.
Secret 1: Readable websiteGone are the days of keyword stuffing. Sentences actually need to make sense now. Optimise your website by ensuring that any published content is easy to read and digest. Natural keyword inclusion is acceptable, but make the readers your first priority, not the keywords. Before you publish, please proofread! Google doesn’t like spelling or grammar errors. Oh and don’t try to hide your keywords by, for example, placing them behind images because Google is much smarter than that.
Secret 2: Quality contentAdding endless pages of irrelevant content to your website won’t increase traffic. In fact, you’re actually erecting a STOP sign. The content that you publish needs to be relevant. Help people by providing valuable information. After all, isn’t your business trying to solve people’s problems, not create them? Quality content wins. Bad content, and a lot of it, will not help you.
Secret 3: Submit a sitemapSubmitting a sitemap to search engines reflecting any updates will certainly aid your cause. According to Google, a sitemap is “ a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.” Don’t put off submitting your sitemap!
Secret 4: Simple URLsPay attention to your URLs and define URL structures that make sense to your website visitors. I’m sure you’ll agree that long URLs written in alien language ring SPAM alarm bells in your mind. Rather keep it simple. URLs have the potential to operate as a GPS by helping visitors understand where they are on the website and what content they’re consuming.
Secret 5: Prioritise securityAbraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains that safety is quite an important human motivating need. If you want to satisfy your visitor’s need for safety then it’s time to encrypt your website and protect them against hackers. Remember: Google’s focus is on the visitor’s needs, not your own as a website manager. Therefore, Google prefers HTTPS over HTTP websites. HTTPS sites are powered by SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), which makes it more secure than a standard HTTP site.
Secret 6: Meaty meta descriptions
Meta descriptions provide the means whereby you can convince your visitors that your site will solve their problem. This is often your one chance to entice your readers to click on your website, instead of the hundred others that appear on the search result pages. Although Google says that meta descriptions don’t influence search rankings, they certainly help you separate yourself from other sites. But whatever you do, make sure your meta descriptions match the content that the visitor will be exposed to if he or she clicks on your site. The last thing you want to do is disappoint visitors and increase your bounce rate. That is a surefire way to get knocked down the list.
Writing a well thought out and educational blog post is key in providing the kind of content your visitors want to read and share. The blog post becomes a resource you can use to attract new leads and educate current leads (often referred to as lead nurturing). When it comes to writing a great blog post, there are four fundamentals that you should follow. These fundamentals might differ depending on who your target market is, but it will give you a good idea of what to do.
There does need to be attraction, so being an effective lead magnet is your first priority. But while sales and marketing can sometimes attract the go-getters of the business world, the art of lead nurturing sometimes requires a more subtle touch. Once you have a lead, it’s not a good idea to blow it out of the water for the sake of trying to generate a quick sale (yes, there’s an analogy there too). Leads should be treated with care, and here are some tips on the best ways to nurture them.
The value of a personal touchHow many emails which end up in our inbox these days are left unopened, or texts from a company which we deem to be trying to sell us something left unread? Taking the time and effort to pick up the phone can have a lot more value in the modern day, when everyone seems happy to take the easy option. It also allows you to build a rapport with a lead, ask questions, assess their buying position, and make plans for further contact on the spot.
Engage with contentA lead-generating website will encourage your leads to engage with more content from you. A one-page website won’t do this. Are you publishing quality, targeted content? A newsletter packed with informative, entertaining and useful content – or if you believe the newsletter idea is a tired idea, an 'insider's digest' – can go a long way to reminding your prospects of who you are and what you do, as well as providing them with value. You don't have to be pushy, just offer great content and include a subtle call to action.
Solidify a position of authority
Tying in with the point above, whether it is through a blog, newsletter, face to face or by way of a phone call, you should do everything you can to ensure that your lead nurturing places you as an authority in your field. Speak about your past successes, highlight work you have done with similar companies, and don't be afraid to champion your organisation as a genuine expert in your sector.
So there you have it. Some top tips on how to refine your lead nurturing process. And the keywords here are subtly and patience. Your leads will have their own businesses which they are busy with. Choosing the right time and place to contact them can pay dividends in the end.
Research conducted in 2016 by HubSpot – with over 4 500 respondents from marketing backgrounds in over 132 countries – has revealed some interesting insights about the current state of inbound marketing. Just 3 of these insights are listed below. If you’d like to gain more insight and dig deeper into the research, download the state of inbound marketing report.
Insight #1A whopping 74% of respondents said that converting contacts / leads to customers is one of their company’s top marketing priorities over the next 12 months. So, building lead-generating websites and nurturing leads is going to be important in 2017. Growing traffic to websites and blogs is also a priority for 56% of respondents.
Insight #2Over 60% of respondents claim that their company’s top inbound marketing priorities are growing SEO / organic presence and blog content creation. Does your company have a blog?
Companies that incorporate inbound into their marketing strategy were 4 times as likely to rate their marketing strategy highly. If your company hasn’t yet jumped on the bandwagon, perhaps this is the year to get content juices flowing.
You need a brand consistent website that really works AND looks beautiful too. After all, your website is fundamental to your business success.
Here are some quick questions to ask a website designer before hiring them to work on your site.
1. What websites have you worked on before?There are a lot of people out there claiming expertise in website design. Get some proof by asking to receive a list of websites (with links) that they have worked on.
2.What design experience do you have?Easily accessible design software has made it easy for everyone to design. But just because you can sing, it doesn’t mean you are a good singer. Look for someone who has diverse graphic design experience.
3.For how long have you been designing websites?Ideally, you need someone who has been designing for a number of years – no one can be an overnight singing success. If they have just started designing then they probably won’t be aware of how website design trends have changed, and what the way forward is.
4.How much will the website design cost?Designing a website never really has an end date because website design is always changing. Discuss the cost of the initial website design and then make sure you find out what the costs will be for any retainer design work done on the site in future. Maintenance is important. Whether you get quoted fixed fees or per hour, always get a clear understanding of the scope of design work included so that there are no surprises when you receive the invoice.
5.How many changes can I make?Related to finding out the cost of the website design is ascertaining how many changes you can make before they start getting charged.
6.How long will the website design take?You waited a year before your cousin’s friend finally got your website live, so you want to avoid waiting that long again. A good website designer will provide you with a clear project plan and deliver on time. If website design is their full-time job then there is no reason why they shouldn’t be on the ball.
7.How do you like to get briefed?A website designer needs a brief. The more detail you can include in the website design brief, the better. Find out how he or she likes to get briefed and what information or documentation (such as CI files) is needed to get the project going in the right direction.
8.Do you use custom designs or templates?A good website designer should be able to offer you custom designs or templates. There are a large number of great website design templates available, and this is the more cost-effective and quicker route. However, you may want something unique to differentiate yourself from competition, which is where custom design is advantageous.
9.What photography will you use?Website design without powerful photographic images is useless. Discuss where the website designer is going to source images from – will you supply them or will you pay for ones to be downloaded. If you opt for paid-for images then you need to be discuss an approval process of the images to be used, so that you don’t end up getting charged unnecessarily.
10.How do you work with website developers?This is key! Your website designer has to work well with the website developers on the project. It’s best if the website development and design company are the same, so that they can carry the project together. The necessary development and design tweaks should continuously and seamlessly occur. Beautiful design is no use if the website doesn’t work, and a fully-functional website is pointless if the design puts everyone off. Creating a phenomenal UX (user experience) needs to be a common goal.
11.Can you help me with other graphic design needs?
Your digital and physical stationery should match to maintain brand consistency, so finding a designer who can you with all of your design needs is first prize. It’s always challenging to keep a brand the same if there are too many designers working on it.