Performing a content audit can be extremely valuable. It can help you to improve your website and plan marketing activity, and it is something that almost every business could benefit from. Here at Artemis we regularly carry out content audits for our clients – if you are interested in having one conducted on your site by professional content and SEO specialists, please get in contact with our team today. In this blog we look at some of the benefits of content audits and how you can carry one out for yourself.
What is a content audit and what is its purpose?
A content audit takes a look at all of the content on a website to assess its strengths, weaknesses and performance. It is an evaluation of data and key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you to understand how well content is doing the job it is intended for, as well as gaining insight into how content could be improved and to guide potential new content creation in the future.
More than just an inventory of the current content on a site, a good content audit establishes the performance of all aspects of content and helps to guide future marketing activity.
Understand your goals
To get as much as possible out of a content audit, it is first important to understand why you are performing it and to establish the goals you are hoping to achieve. There are many different reasons to carry out a content audit:
SEO – you may be conducting an audit to help you to identify areas of potential improvement for search engine optimisation (SEO). In this case it would be important to focus closely on aspects such as keywords, image optimisation, word count and current page rankings.
Content marketing – it could be that you want to gain insight into the success and failures of your content marketing. Here you could take a look at visit metrics, social shares and user behaviour.
The first step in the actual auditing process involves finding all of the content on a website. This is where it can be useful to use a crawling tool such as Screaming Frog, as this will find all of the URLs associated with a site and provide them as a list, along with helpfully listing many of the relevant details about a page – such as its word count, headers and more. Many of these tools allow you to export the list in full, so this can allow you to easily create a spreadsheet with the content details you will be needing.
A more time consuming process could be to manually enter all of the pages and their details into a spreadsheet. Clearly for larger websites this would be impractical, but it might be possible if you are auditing a smaller site.
Analyse your data
Gathering relevant data is also an important aspect of your content audit. You will need to utilise various tools to pull in key facts. As discussed above, this will depend on the goals of your content audit, but you may wish to get data such as the last time the page was updated, how the page ranks on Google and how many conversions or goals that the page has achieved over a set period.
Once again, how you analyse the data is based entirely on the goals you are trying to achieve from your audit. But as an example, if you are looking at the conversion rates of your content you might be able to look at key metrics such as average time on page, bounce rate and completion of goals.
You can then see which pages are doing well, and which need improvement. It might be prudent to arrange the pages by those which get most clicks, so that you can focus your future content work on the areas of the site that are most active, but that convert at the lowest rate.
Look at the competition
You can take your audit further than the current content on your site by examining the content of your competitors as well as the most popular content found in the subject matter. Tools like Buzzsumo allow you to explore content in a niche to understand which is the most successful. No matter why you are carrying out your content audit, it is always beneficial to understand exactly what you audience is looking for.
If you would like to learn more about content audits or you are interested in having one carried out, please contact our experienced team today.
There are many ways that you can optimise your website to improve its position in search rankings. But for some businesses, the real challenge is turning visitors to the site into customers. To do so it is important to find the areas on your site that could potentially be used more effectively and generate more conversions from the traffic you are currently receiving.
Hotjar is an increasingly popular tool that can be used to help websites generate more enquiries or leads. It does this by collecting user data and feedback which enables you to fully understand where the web and mobile traffic is focussed on your site, and how you can benefit from it.
Whether your website is used for ecommerce or for referrals, you need to know which pages or actions can create the most leads. Hotjar uses tools like heatmaps and recordings to help you better understand and manage your website. But optimising a website for an increase in traffic or conversions can be tricky. Here are our quick top tips on how to use Hotjar effectively to increase conversion rates and turn your visitors into customers.
How heatmaps work
Hotjar’s heatmap feature essentially monitors a user’s movements and engagement across a website or on specific pages. Heatmaps are capable of showing users’ behaviour on a page and are useful for understanding where your visitors are clicking and how far they are willing to scroll down a page for more information.
It is important to then highlight where your users are often clicking to and how you can then essentially turn that into a lead or improve in other areas of the page. This can work really well for a ‘Contact’ page you’re looking to improve, whether it is by looking into how your form is shown or guiding you to whether your buttons and other elements are creating a potential barrier for users.
In the image above you will see an example of how users behave on the Artemis homepage. Interestingly, the majority of clicks received on the homepage can be found on the ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ tab. This can also show the areas that your visitors aren’t clicking onto that much or not at all, it gives you insight into what you need to focus on more or on how you can improve elements such as call-to-action buttons, forms or general content.
However, heatmaps are capable of more. The image above shows the movements of your visitors across the page and what users are more drawn to. It can also highlight the ratio of most mouse movements compared to the clicks from the previous image, which again, can indicate on how to gain leads from certain elements such as buttons, forms and opt-ins.
Record targeted pages
One of Hotjar’s most powerful features is recordings. The recording feature can enable you to see how visitors are interacting with your website. It does this by collecting and storing visitor session data and actively records a user’s movements.
It’s not as scary as it sounds… Each event is tracked as a different session and allows you to play it back and watch how visitors are behaving on your website and which pages they are going to. Through analysing the data you have collected to see how users are interacting with the site, you can essentially build or change the site around them.
It is important to understand how a user navigates around a website, you can see your visitors’ journeys and how they digest content along the way, especially for an ecommerce site when the focus is on the products you are trying to sell.
How does recording pages help me?
Recordings can help you answer a large number of questions on the user experience and usability of your site, such as:
What barriers exist on my website? And how can I fix them?
What is driving people to convert on my page?
Are users ignoring my CTA buttons? Are they even seeing them?
It’s important to define the changes you need to make to a page, even if it means a small increase in clicks, especially to a targeted page such as a contact page. It means you can build or change the website around your visitors and make the user experience better, especially if there is a barrier blocking their way to another page. It is great to understand these challenges and how you can fix them.
And even better is the fact that you are not limiting: you can record both static and dynamic pages along with shopping carts and logged in areas.
Understanding how Hotjar forms work
When you have contact forms on your website, it is important to check whether you are actually receiving any conversions or interactions for what you have featured on a targeted page.
Hotjar Form Reports can provide you with an in-depth view of how each of your forms are collecting data and if they are converting traffic from them. Sessions are collected for each form and you will be able to analyse how long each user is spending on a field or whether they abandoned the contact form altogether. It is good to understand how they interact with it and if there are any challenges they are facing (e.g. a ‘Submit’ button not working correctly).
In the image above you can see the rate of sessions and drop off along with interactions for each field, making it easier to understand how to can improve a form or see what barriers your visitors could be facing.
Hotjar is becoming an increasingly popular tool that can help a website generate more enquiries and lead to more conversions. Artemis have many years of digital marketing experience and can provide expert help to enable your business to reach a wide yet targeted audience of new and existing customers. Contact us for a free Hotjar consultation.
Friends of the Earth have launched their #PlasticFreeFriday campaign, encouraging individuals and businesses to commit to one day every week where they do not use any form of single-use plastic.
At Artemis we thought that it was a fantastic idea, and as a part of our responsibility to the environment and sustainability, members of staff have volunteered to be a part of the campaign – eliminating single-use plastic on Fridays (as well as being mindful of plastic usage the rest of the week).
There is simply so much single-use plastic that inevitably ends up in landfills and then gets into the world’s oceans. Single-use plastic includes everyday items such as wrappers, sandwich packets, bottles, plastic straws, disposable coffee cup lids, food bags, plastic cutlery and much more.
Making small changes, such as going plastic-free one day per week can help change behaviour and raise awareness to the cause and the challenges.
Check out the Friends of the Earth campaign for some great tips about how to go single-use plastic free, either on Fridays or as often as you can!
Artemis takes our commitment to the environment seriously. We utilise recycling boxes, recently investing in a coffee-pod collector to make it possible for us to recycle more effectively. We also exclusively use eco-friendly cleaning products, use as little paper as possible and are always looking to implement greener policies in the office.
Over the course of our two-part blog series, we will take an in-depth look at the growth and progression of artificial intelligence in relation to search technology. In Part One we will examine how artificial intelligence is changing the way that people utilise search engines. In Part Two we take a look at what these changes mean for the SEO industry and the way your website ranks on Google.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword around SEO for some time now. For a number of years, SEO professionals have postulated that AI would have a huge role to play in the future of the industry. But this all looked a long way off in 2012, when Google was struggling to get its most advanced AI software to even recognise whether or not a cat was present in a video.
Over the past few years there have marked improvements in the technology to the point where we are seeing AI systems integrate seamlessly into people’s lives. AI assistants on mobile devices and computers have become commonplace – Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are just two examples attempting to show how clever they are. AI has slowly been colonising search engines too. And while it’s certainly no secret, the growing influence of AI on Google has taken some search professionals by surprise. But to understand just how AI is affecting the landscape of SEO, we must first establish the ways that AI is influencing and altering the ways that people use search engines every day.
Understanding artificial intelligence
AI may well be the future of search, and therefore being able to understand AI and interpret how it works is an important challenge for businesses and search engine professionals. Firstly, it is useful to understand what AI actually is and how it is applied to search engines.
When we talk about AI, we are referring to the attempts to make machines do the things that human minds can do. Machines are typically extremely efficient at being able to do the things that they are told to do, but cannot do things where they are asked to make decisions or utilise skills such as creativity or problem-solving, which we think of as intrinsically human.
Essentially it is asking machines to learn from their own experiences, rather than learning from things that they have been told by their programming. This has taken many forms, from computers that have learned to play chess better than Grandmasters to cars with the ability to drive themselves.
AI is used within search engines a number of ways. The most of obvious use is in the augmenting of algorithms used to rank websites in order to more effectively offer high quality search results. But AI is also used in a variety of situations that you might not realise when you browse on your phone or search on your laptop.
To understand these, we need to take a closer look at the different types of artificial intelligence that are used by Google, Microsoft, Apple and other technology giants who are leading the field.
The progression of artificial intelligence
There is a lot of talk of AI in modern settings, but when you attempt to understand how it is used within search engines you come up against the problem that the term ‘artificial intelligence’ is simply far too broad. AI can simultaneously refer to the earliest beginnings of the concept, the modern day technology that influences our lives right now, and the myriad possibilities for the future. It is important, then, to break down the phrase into more manageable concepts.
You might not realise that AI dates back to 1956 when computer scientists coined the phrase. In its infancy, AI pioneers dreamed primarily of machines that could mimic all aspects of human intellect – think of androids in science fiction films. Today, however, those at the forefront of the technology realise that the advantages of AI actually come from much narrower forms.
Rather than trying to produce AI that mimics the human experience, pioneers look for opportunities where AI can perform difficult or time-consuming tasks that we previously have relied on human minds for.
This is where we first encounter the phrase ‘machine learning’. Machine learning is a form of AI where a computer is programmed with algorithms to learn and improve at task by being shown a large amount of data. For example, if you could program a computer to understand what letters look like, it could then scan images for words. While impressive feats were accomplished with this form of machine learning, it would still encounter problems.
For example, if the first letter of a word was partially obscured, leaving the letters “E-L-L-O” a computer would not be able to recognise what most English-speaking humans would know instantly: the word is ‘hello’. It was for the same reason that Google was struggling to get its AI to recognise a cat in a video – it worked some of the time, but if the images were obscured, the AI simply was not advanced enough to recognise cats effectively.
It was relatively recently that the concept of ‘deep learning’ was introduced. This is a form of machine learning in which computers are exposed to a huge number of images and use something called neural networks, which examine different elements of the image to ascertain what it is. With the advent and advancement of modern computers, it is now possible for a computer to analyse millions of images and learn from its mistakes. Deep learning is currently the most effective form of AI.
This shows us, then, that what we truly need for successful AI is actually a very large amount of data that can be fed into a machine and allow it to learn. This is, in part, why Google is able (and will continue to be able) to use AI so effectively – the company simply has access to such a huge amount of extremely rich data to provide to its AI systems.
Revolutionising the way we search
So, what does the use of deep learning AI mean for the future of search? The truth is it already having an enormous impact in ways that you might not even have noticed. For example, if you have ever searched using Google Assistant (starting by saying the phrase ‘OK Google’ aloud) you may have watched your device interpreting the words you are saying. It is cleverly able to ignore hesitations and recognise natural speech patterns.
For a glimpse into just how advanced Google’s speech recognition has become, take a look at this video where Google Assistant takes a query from a user about making a women’s hair appointment and then actually makes a call to the salon in order to get the appointment booked, mimicking human speech and understanding the nuances of the conversation.
Interestingly, Google has even able to understand the difference between the ways that different generations interact with it. For example, Generation X learned to use search engines in a way that was functional, for example typing in a query like “cheap Spain holidays”. On the other hand, Millennials now interact with search engines with more natural questions like “where is cheap to go in Spain in June?”. This change has only come about because AI has grown to the point where Google is able to understand this kind of conversational language, and is able to provide relevant search results based on these sorts of queries.
There are also practical search applications for the deep learning image analysis discussed above. One innovation that Google is working on is image searching as a shopping tool. For example, if you are interested in buying a specific belt, Google can then use its image search for images of people wearing similar belts and establishing the kinds of jeans that are typically worn with the belt – it can then make recommendations to you for jeans that you can potentially buy alongside the belt.
Of course this is not to say that Google’s AI has reached its peak – nor that current AI technology is without its limitations. For example, it is likely now that the case that Google does not truly understand why its algorithm ranks websites in a particular way. This means that if a business feels that hard done by in Google’s search results, the company may no longer be able to provide a rational explanation for why a particular site ranks the way it does. Given the importance of Google to businesses across the UK, this might seem like a worrying prospect.
Additionally, it has been established that even with deep learning techniques, AI can be tricked or make mistakes. For example, Google’s image classification AI was tricked into believing a 3D printed turtle was a rifle.
There have even been concerns that AI is not able to think ethically in the way that humans are able to. For example, in late 2017 Facebook’s AI algorithm was discovered to have created anti-Semitic advert topics that users could target. This embarrassment forced Facebook to introduce human reviewers into something that had previously been a process that was completely automated by AI.
How will AI affect SEO?
Given the enormous variety of ways that AI is influencing search, it is clear that it will play a huge role in the SEO industry. In Part Two of this blog series on artificial intelligence and search engines we take an in-depth look into how AI is changing SEO.
Evergreen content is sought after by digital marketers and businesses because it is more likely to remain valuable over a long period of time. This makes it more valuable for SEO than short-term content, potentially helping to improve your search engine rankings as well as continually bringing in new visitors and users to your site.
If your business can create a piece of evergreen content that answers questions and provides useful information to potential customers, it can additionally be a valuable tool for building your brand and profile. Here are five tips you can follow to create fantastic evergreen content for your website.
Content that stays relevant
The traditional form of evergreen content is anything that covers a topic where the information will not change over time. This means that you write the page once and then it will remain relevant for many months or even years. Take an example like ‘A Guide to Driving Safely’ – the basic information on road safety and smart driving will likely remain the same for a long period of time.
On the other hand, something like ‘Five Upcoming Apps You Need to Know About’ clearly has a defined time period where it is relevant, but it is unlikely to be useful or interesting a couple of months after it has been written.
So when you are planning your evergreen content, take the time to choose topics that are going to have the longest shelf life. An article giving user advice on the iPhone X, for example, will have a shorter shelf life than one that gives user advice on mobile devices generally.
…Or content you can refresh
There is a second form of evergreen content that you can create – that is content that needs to be periodically updated. For example, a list of upcoming SEO and digital marketing events can be evergreen as long as it is continually updated. While this kind of evergreen content takes a little more work than the other, it can be just as effective.
In fact, it can be hugely valuable if you can get users to return to your page because they know it is an often-updated piece of useful information.
Put your evergreen content centre stage
It is important to make sure that your high quality content gets the attention that it deserves. Too many websites will create a fantastic piece of evergreen content only for it to be hidden just a few days later as they post more content to their blog. If you are going to create your content as a blog it is important to make sure that it is still easy to find.
For example you could have a ‘Top Posts’ section in your blog to ensure that it stays near the top of the main page, and in the case of refreshed content, you can always re-post it to bring it back to the top of your blog. Additionally you can re-post the content on social media regularly to give it extra focus and attention.
Understand the different forms of evergreen content
There are lots of different kinds of content that you can make evergreen. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, here are some of the most popular:
• ‘How to’ guides
• Beginner’s guides
• Case studies
• Original research
• Lists of resources
• Useful products or software
• ‘History of’ a topic
• Top tips and advice
Create content that matches your brand
Finally, remember that one of the most important aspects of evergreen content is that it can be a tool for promoting your brand. Make sure that you write your content in your brand voice, so that people can associate that content with you.
Here at Artemis, we have a dedicated in-house content writing team to help our clients achieve the best possible content for their business. From writing web page content to blogs and articles, why not contact us to find out how we can help?
Whether you’re using email marketing to reach your tailored target audience or to find potential new customers, there are effective techniques that are ideal for increasing higher open rates and engagement for any campaign. Many businesses rely on automated emails such as sign-up forms and welcome emails (which can be key!) rather than actually planning a strategy on newsletters and how they could drive traffic to your website.
Creating the perfect email newsletter can take time and planning, especially when you want to maximise your open rates as much as possible. Here are five great tips for producing a targeted email.
1 – Content
With content, it’s always best to start with the subject line, as this can potentially have an impact on your open rates in general. Subject lines are important with any email, especially when they’re centred on promotions, sales or new products. Bearing that in mind, it’s best to check there’s something to inspire the subscriber to open the email in the first place, while ensuring it isn’t something that would go straight to the junk folder.
When it comes to better performing subject lines, always remember to include engaging taglines, correct spelling, correct capitalisation and a repetitive call to action.
As for content within the email itself, it’s always best to add information and keywords that you want your subscribers to read about. Ideally, this should relate to the subject line you’ve created beforehand.
But, how much content should you add? Less is more, in most cases.
When adding content to an email, it’s best not to go overboard with packing it out as much as possible. Most of the time, the user won’t scroll too far to read or potentially click on any offers or promotions.
When creating newsletters, one the most important things to include is a Call to Action (CTA). Like websites, these are used to grab the user’s attention and can be worded to highlight the link to the promotion or new products.
A few examples of these are:
How many CTAs should you add to your email?
While it’s tempting to add as many as possible CTAs, this really isn’t recommended. If there are too many CTAs within an email, users may feel overwhelmed and simply won’t know which CTA to follow. Ideally, keep it minimal and include engaging actions in various colours and placements to click, so it’s not too overwhelming.
3 – Imagery
Images within an email are just as powerful as the content and CTA; they can really help with what message you’re trying to send to your target audience. Every image included in the email should be high quality as the majority of subscribers that open a newsletter who see a blurry or broken image won’t continue on any further. This most importantly applies to your header image as it’s the first thing the user sees.
How many images should you add?
Like CTAs, it’s always best to keep images to a minimum. If your email is filled with mostly images and little text, you’ll likely find your newsletter go straight to the junk folder. Always add images that are related to your brand, email subject and any highlighted products.
4 – Mobile Optimisation
With a growing percentage of subscribers reading their emails through a mobile device, it comes as no surprise that newsletters would need to be responsive for the increase in users to those devices. Yet, many emails are designed on and for desktops, making viewing a newsletter on a mobile much harder.
Many email clients now offer newsletters to be automatically optimised for mobile once created, and the same principles apply to websites that are mobile responsive.
How do you know if your email is responsive for mobile?
Ideally, you would need to test this first before sending out any emails. There are ways you can do this with different providers so you’re able to see how your content, images and CTAs would align on a mobile. If you find you need to scroll along or expand the page to view all of it then you know it’s not mobile optimised. However, with easy implementation you can make your emails more readable for different screen sizes.
At Artemis, we are constantly preparing for Google’s Mobile First Audit, focusing on mobile speed, design and user friendliness. For a friendly chat and expert advice, please get in touch.
5 – Personalisation and Targeting
Many people are unaware that personalisation for emails can be successful for any sender; 74% of marketers say targeted personalisation can increase customer engagement over time. It’s important to understand how personalising a subject line or targeting segmented subscribers can improve open and click rates.
Overall, the subscriber feels more relevant when an email is less generic and more targeted to them. In order to achieve this you can include their name as well as promotions and offers segmented just for them. This enables you to have a clear audience for products and the offers they would be interested in.
What personalisation should you use?
The use of a “first name” within the content is strong enough to make the user feel more engaged in the newsletter itself, feeling that that the email is more for them rather than being generic. Personalisation can also be great for re-engaging your subscribers. Use automated reminders as a way to send out email offers to encourage users to come back to your website.
Email marketing is a hugely important tool that can help your business generate more enquiries, and more sales. Artemis have many years of digital marketing experience and can provide expert help to enable your business to reach a wide yet targeted audience of new and existing customers. Contact us for a free consultation.
Whether you’re creating brand new content for an ecommerce site or just refreshing your product pages, it’s worth spending some time to get the copy right. Too many businesses copy and paste the product description from the supplier’s site or just free write whatever comes to mind when they come to upload to their site.
But a good product description can be the difference between a customer buying with you or continuing their search elsewhere. Here are six great tips for perfecting your product content.
1 – Understand your audience
To write the perfect product copy, you need to know who you are writing for. Ask yourself: who is the product for and who is most likely to buy? It’s unlikely that you would use the same style of writing for aspirational millennials as you would for pensioners. But it’s also worth looking deeper into your buyer. Are they style conscious? Bargain orientated? Highly educated? When you have a real understanding of your audience, you can start to make decisions on style and tone of voice.
2 – Research your product
You also need to really understand your product and where it sits in the marketplace. Don’t think about getting started on the writing until you have conducted thorough research into the advantages of your product compared to the competition.
Talk to whoever you need to – take the time to call or email the manufacturer or supplier to get the most relevant details. This is the stuff that will make your product stand out from the crowd and promote sales.
3 – Write for humans
Of course it’s necessary to be aware of search engines and how to optimise your product content effectively – but don’t fall into the trap of writing for the benefit of Google. Firstly, Google’s algorithm gets smarter every day, and what it really likes to see is good quality content. But also because the true value of product copy is its ability to convert.
Yes, search terms and keywords are important but there really is no good in having people landing on your product page if they never actually, you know, buy the product. Focus on writing the best possible content for human beings to read, that is what will get you the sales.
4 – Don’t get caught up in word counts
There is a lot of talk about ‘thin content’ on the internet. It’s certainly true that pages with too little content can perform poorly in Google search results, and sites should always be aiming to improve their content. But remember too that we are talking about a product page. Ultimately, if they have landed on a product page, they are here to make a buying decision. This means that your content needs to be concise, crisp and lead them towards making the purchase.
No, your content should not be too short, but don’t ramble on making the same point over and over to reach a round 500 word count. Use as many or as few words as you need to sell the product to the audience and leave it at that.
5 – Be original
Filling your product page with cliché sales nonsense will do nothing to promote sales at best, and annoy your potential customers at worst. It’s a much better idea to take your time and create snappy content that someone will actually remember. Make them laugh or present your product in a way they haven’t thought about before. It will make a real difference.
6 – Use emotive language
Too much product content perfectly describes the individual features, but forgets to explain what it actually does for you. Consider the difference between describing an office chair as being ‘ergonomically-designed’ compared to content that explains the chair contains ‘back support to keep you in complete comfort’.
The difference here is the use of emotive language – the kind of language that allows the customer to understand how fantastic it is to own the product.
The content of your website says a lot about your business. Companies that take the time to get their content right are more likely to make the right impression on their audience, leading to more sales and conversions. But it’s still very common to find websites that are making basic mistakes. Here are ten of the worst website content mistakes and how you can avoid making them.
1 – Using duplicate content
Duplicate content is the most crucial mistake that you can make on your site. Whether you copy and paste text from a competitor or use identical content across several of your pages, it’s probably the ultimate no-no in web content.
Google hates it. And while it’s a myth that your site will be penalised for showing duplicated content, the truth is almost as bad. Google will tend to ignore pages that have exactly the same content that it has seen before, so it simply won’t list that page in its rankings. That means that customers won’t be able to find your pages with duplicated content by searching on Google.
It’s amazing how many sites still fall at the first hurdle when the solution is so simple: ensure that every page on your website has unique and high quality content.
2 – Careless spelling, punctuation and grammar
Spelling and grammar makes a massive difference to your website. Research conducted by Global Lingo revealed that 59% of British people would not use a company that had obvious spelling or grammar errors on their website. If more than half of your potential customer base would be put off using you simply on the basis of careless mistakes, it shows it is really worth putting in the time to eliminate them.
There’s no excuse for poor spelling. Just copy and paste your text into Word or one of the many online spellcheckers and it will do the work for you (although be very careful of accidental misspellings that are still real words, e.g. ‘form’ and ‘from’). Punctuation and grammar can be a little trickier as software doesn’t always pick them up so easily, so ensure you take the time to proofread the text properly.
3 – Too many links
Using too many links in your text is bad for two reasons. Firstly, to Google and other search engines multiple links in a small amount of text looks very spammy and it can lead to your website being penalised. Secondly, to a customer, too many links looks ugly and can put them off reading your site. Ultimately you need to put your audience first and inserting loads of links makes for a poor user experience.
4 – Overlooking CTAs
Each piece of content on your site should serve a purpose – it should either provide information to a user or convince them to use or buy your service or product. So when it has a purpose, its ultimate goal must be to push them towards doing something. That means you need to have a call to action (CTA). Whether you’re as direct as encouraging them to ‘buy now’ or as gentle as suggesting they can ‘learn more’, never underestimate the power of a good CTA.
5 – Elongated sentences
It’s generally accepted that shorter sentences work better on websites. Your copy should be bold and punchy – get to the point as quickly as you can. Too many long and meandering sentences can lead to poor conversion rates and look especially bad on mobile devices with smaller screens. What’s worse is there is no need for them; virtually any long sentence can be easily broken down into something shorter and more readable.
6 – Overloading on keywords
Keywords have long been vital in web content. Your website needs to show search engines what your business does and one of the most important ways to do this is to include important keywords in your on-page copy.
But it’s when keywords become the focus of a page rather than an incidental part of it that you can start to have a problem. Aside from making your site difficult to read for your customers you’ll also be treading on thin ice with Google, which often penalises content when it feels that keyword phrases are being overused.
7 – Writing pages yourself
Many businesses and website owners try to create the content for their own site, but it’s not always a good idea. Writing is not everyone’s forte and that’s OK! If you’re not a natural wordsmith it might make sense to delegate the task of writing to someone else. Rather than spending hours of your time trying to generate content for your site, it can be hugely valuable to hire an SEO agency or a freelance copywriter. You’ll not only save yourself a lot of stress and wasted time but the results will be far better.
8 – Forgetting about the customer
It can be all too common for businesses to forget about their customers when they come to creating their website. Overusing jargon is a major problem. It’s easy to forget that your customers may not have the same in-depth understanding of your product or service as you do. Always create your content in plain English so that a layperson could understand it.
Also make sure that you avoid writing the website for the customer you want rather than the customer you have. There’s nothing wrong with diversifying, but your initial focus should be on the aspects of your business that convert best, rather than those you would like to convert better.
9 – Neglecting your blog
A blog is definitely a good idea for your website. A steady stream of fresh content on your site not only gives users a reason to visit, but it also shows search engines that your business is active. Many businesses start their blog with good intentions and regularly posting for the first month or so. But after a while it can be easy to fall into bad habits and leave the blog neglected. Ultimately it’s better to have no blog at all rather than a blog that was last updated four years ago, so make sure that someone is available to write a new blog at least once a month.
10 – Choosing quantity over quality
Finally, it should be remembered that web content is all about quality rather than quantity. As we have already talked about, shorter sentences are better but it’s also worth noting that this goes for overall page content as well. Don’t fill a page with 4,000 words if you can say it in 400. Anyone can knock out hundreds of words of filler, but you need to focus on getting content that is valuable to both your customers and search engines.
You’ve made the choice to go it alone. But now that you’ve got the whole world wide web at your feet, you may not know where to start with getting your business online. Does your start-up need a website?
“…the simple answer is YES, but what should you do?”
It can be pretty daunting starting a new business when you have come from the safety and security of full-time employment. However, if you have a solid business plan, the drive and determination to succeed and an educated idea of which media you are going to use for advertising your new business, then that’s a great start.
There are many options for advertising outlets, but let’s just look at websites for a moment, as many start-ups can get it horribly wrong by rushing into things.
“…plan with purpose, or prepare to fail”
Let’s get one thing straight. A website is not “your business”, it’s a medium to advertise it. Just throwing up a pretty looking site thinking it will automatically generate leads for you is not going to cut it. The way that Google assesses websites, and internet users choose which sites to click on, is far more complex than that.
Before you even get anywhere near website software or companies who can build your site, there are some really important questions to answer first.
Who is my site for?
What is the main activity a user will carry out to engage your business?
What budget have you set aside to build a site (or how much time, if you’re going to have a go yourself)?
What about marketing?
Who is going to keep your site up to date?
Next consider the content for each of your pages. Write this first! It is far easier to build the website pages around your content than the other way around. Make sure you concentrate all your business USP’s (unique selling points) into clear sections. This will help your customers and search engines understand what you do and what you’re offering.
“…research, research, research”
Look at what your competitors are doing. Read their websites, but don’t steal their content! Google has an algorithm to catch you out on this, and it’s best to have a read up on their Webmaster Guidelines.
Be yourself. Be unique. Make your business stand out from your competitors. Try and think of the types of customers you are going to do business with and align yourself with their personas.
As you can see, there are lots to think about when launching your start-up business, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what to do when the website is live.
There are plenty more blog posts on our site with other helpful tips and guides on optimising your website, so check them out too.