The Design of Your Website Is like a Store’s Shop Window

When you are deciding on your website design, keep in mind that it really is like a store’s shop window.  Within 10 seconds (or less) from landing on your website, customers will make the decision to continue to browse, or to exit and look at another website.  Sadly, it is that harsh and that quick.

So think about your design.  For your target market does the design ‘fit’.  It is somewhat emotively engaging, enticing prospective customers to continue to stay and browse some more?

On the home page, are your key messages at the top of the page so they see these early on.  Are the messages ‘on topic’ and reflect the information your prospective customer would be searching for.

7 Key Elements for Good Website Design

  • Your brand and colour scheme.  Does it fit your target market?  Is it clear and distinctive?  Does your logo assist in conveying what your business is offering?  If your brand name clearly conveys what your business is about, that’s a great first step as customers immediately know what your businesses, e.g. Dave’s Plumbing.
  • Easy readability of your font.  I have visited a number of websites where they have decided to use a fashionable light grey colour for the font.  Sadly it makes it impossible to read, and as a visitor to the site, I noticed that I quickly clicked on the ‘back’ button and continued to browse to the next appropriate site.
  • Your navigation buttons – are these easy to find on your website?
  • Have you got your phone number in a clear and visible place?  And for the smartphone experience, is there a simple way they can just tap on your phone number and it will immediately begin to ring.
  • Is there a clear ‘information hierarchy’ so you can easily and quickly read the page headings and find key areas of text that are relevant to you.
  • Is there sufficient amount of white space, so the headings are clear and distinctive.  This aspect of design can significantly enhance the performance of your website.

Let’s Talk Website Navigation

You may think website navigation is a standard and simple thing to do for all businesses.  If you have a standard 10 page website with just the standard page topics, then it really is straightforward, e.g. Home, About Us, Our Services, Contact Us etc.

However, if you are selling a range of products and/or services, and have a number of category headings, a lot more thought should go into your website navigation.

The common rule for websites is the ‘3 click’ rule.  That means, within 3 mouse clicks (or less) that your prospective customer should have landed on their desired web page.

What’s more, have you thought of the hierarchy of categories.  Top selling products being higher up on your navigation structure, and lower selling products being further down.  Think of your navigation like a supermarket.  Keeping the most purchased items in easy and accessible reach, and in easy viewing profile.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is also affected by your navigation approach.  As this enables core selected SEO keywords to be able to be used in category headings and also in URL addresses.  Grouping of products to key categories can also improve SEO performance, along with improving your online shoppers experience.

With a bit of thought to your website navigation, and thinking about it from your customers shopping experience, it’s amazing how a few changes in tab positioning can influence a product’s profile.

Marketing Planning | Often the Overlooked Child of the Family

For many small businesses the one thing that is commonly overlooked is planning, and from my perspective, ‘marketing planning’.  I often see that small business owners quickly gravitate to building their main online profile, their website, without doing a little bit of strategic thinking..

Without a bit of forward thinking or planning, some key critical points are overlooked.  And as a result, businesses are compromising their opportunity for generating greater sales.

To give you an analogy, it’s like jumping in your car and starting to drive down the road, without having a clear idea of your final destination.  We don’t do it in our daily life, and so it’s even more important not to do it with our businesses.

With a little bit of forward planning, a little bit of strategic thinking, it’s surprising how it can influence your website approach, content, navigation approach, and design.  Just to name a few.

Marketing Plans for Smaller Businesses

So what are some of the key areas we should put some thought to?

Your Target Markets: Ask yourself, who are you predominately wanting to connect/sell to?

Your Point/s of Difference: Have you been able to identify what makes you different from your competitors?  Why should they buy from you?  It could be your expertise, your product /service range, your customer service ethos, your location, your price positioning.  Or any other possible differentiating factor.

Your Key Marketing Messages: This really should tie in to the above two points.  Once you know you key target markets, and your point/s of difference, it’s important to carefully craft your key selling messages to be on target and to entice potential customers to purchase.

Your Strengths and Weaknesses: I always believe/promote to your strengths, and minimise the impact or attention to your weaknesses.  Look at what your competitors are doing, and how do you compare with them on the key things that matter to your customers?

What market opportunities are there?  Within your local/global market what are the key changes that are happening that provide you with new opportunities?  With the changes that technologies provide, previous geographical boundaries can easily be extended beyond your specific local location.

It’s surprising, that if you answer these questions in a different way, how much it alters and fine tunes your marketing approach.  By simply re-defining your target market/s, it has an impact on the language you use, how you communicate regarding tone and style, your website layout and design.  Just to name a few.

So, if you feel you have been working hard at pulling together all your marketing activities, and you’re not getting the results you want, possibly it’s time to put in some strategic thinking.  Through simply stepping back from the noise of it all, and getting a bit more of a market overview, it may provide you with the insight and understanding of where to go to from here.

It’s not about writing a 20 page bound booklet that never gets looked at again.  It really is about putting in the thinking, to be smart and ‘on’ with your marketing.  It may even end up being a 1-page summary document; but most importantly it gives you a bit of a framework and space to consider the right strategic direction for your business.

As I said at the start of this, we don’t get in our car without clearly knowing the destination, so we should put in the same degree of forward thinking and planning for the success of our business.

Aztera Marketing in Wellington | How We Can Help

At Aztera Marketing in Wellington we help you with all aspects of your marketing plans. From strategic plans through to 6 or 12 month tactical marketing plans.

Getting Your Website up on Search Rankings with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

I doubt that I need to convince anyone nowadays that search rankings do matter.  And just for the ‘newbies’ learning about this topic, search engine optimisation is the tool used to improve your website’s organic search results.

There are many factors that influence your search rankings.  Some you have easy control over, e.g. your website content, and some you have less control over e.g. the age of your domain name.

So for the purpose of this article, let’s talk about what you can control – your website content.  And this includes your ‘on page’ content (what you see when you land on a web page) and your ‘off page’ content, these are referred to as your meta tags, with the two key ones being your Title and Description meta tags.

5 Key Points to Keep in Mind with SEO and Your on Page Content

  • With regard to the products or services you are selling, it’s important to do some initial keyword research to identify the most popular search phrases prospective customers would type in to Google, when doing online browsing for your kind of product/service.
  • Once you have an idea of the range of keyword phrases, across all your products or services you offer, it will influence how you handle your website navigation, and how you split your website content across dedicated key topics/search phrases.  With this level of consideration, it means you can move towards having single topic dedicated search phrases, spread in a manged way across your range of web pages.
  • For each web page, using keyword phrases in the heading text and on page general body text assists with SEO.  There are a few tricks that can go with this, to enhance the strength of optimising for keyword phrases.  But the key thing is understanding that the use of text and keyword phrases are highly linked for SEO purposes.
  • When including the keyword phrases into your general page text, it’s important to not over populate these phrases, as Google may see this as ‘keyword stuffing’.  And this is strongly disliked by Google.  So using them to a level is good, overusing them to an intensity moving towards ‘keyword stuffing’ can be to the detriment of your website performance.
  • The key thing to keep top of mind, is even with the task of blending in keyword phrases, the final version of the copy still needs to be appealing and interesting to your prospective customer.  It’s the horrible task of developing web copy that blends the two aspects of meeting SEO requirements combined with developing strong, enticing, sales centric website copy.  As the primary purpose of your website is to achieve sales, either directly from the website (if it is a shopping cart/e-commerce website), or as a lead generation tool i.e. to entice the customer to contact your business.