Afi Esca Launch New SPA Developed by Jeyjoo

Today we launched a new single page web application (SPA) for insurance firm Afi Esca.

Taking their insurance application process online, the app automates a insurance calculations and call handling, reducing workload whilst also providing extreme convenience for the client.

Now that’s quick!

As always, we built the app for speed – below is our top score for Google Pagespeed.

Fast loading SPA for Afi Esca

SPA features

  • Maximum market reach. The app is available across all devices – PC, Mac, tablet, iPhone and Android.
  • It is very fast loading! The app achieved a perfect 100% speed score based on the lab data analyzed by Lighthouse.
  • Superb user experience. Quick, free, easy to use, and available 24/7 – the app offers a great user experience.

What does the app do?

The app allows users to:

  • Get a competitive mortgage insurance quote in 1 minute.
  • Geo locate the nearest Afi Esca agency.
  • Request a call back from their chosen agency.

Technical stuff

The application is a SPA (single page application) built using the Bootstrap 4 framework.

Programming languages: PHP, SOAP for webservice, HTML5, CSS, AJAX, MySQLi, Javascript.

Find out more

Find out how you can use web apps to save time and automate your business workflows.

Alternatively, contact us for expert, friendly advice and a quote for your own project SPA.

Get a quote today

Getting started online – the infographic

This week we launched our new help section – getting started online. It features simple 1 minute answers to complicated questions about getting started online.

We understand that running your business is more than a full time job – and that setting up online can seem complicated at best of the times. That is why we have provided short, concise, no-nonsense answers to all the big questions you may have.

Enjoy!

Getting started online - infographic - 1 minute answers

Responsive, AMP, PWA, Social, Vlogs – confused? How to decide which features your website needs

Responsive design, AMP pages, Web Apps, Progressive Web Apps, SEO and optimization, Schema, content writing, Social Networks, Pagespeed, blogs and vlogs. Confusing right?

What are they and do you really need them on your site?

Here’s a simple explanation of each feature to help you decide.

Features your websites should have

Responsive design

Responsive design means that your website adapts to fit the size of your screen. It allows your site to be viewed from any device from a large desktop PC to a tiny Smartphone. Essential

SEO

All websites should have been search engine optimized (SEO) by your developer from the go. This allows Google to understand your web pages, helping your site rank well in search. Essential

Schema.org

Schema is an advanced SEO technique that should be used by your developer to mark up your code from the go. Essential

Page speed

Page load speeds are a big deal – users abandon slow websites, and Google factors in speed when ranking your site. Essential

Content writing

If you want to rank well in search, you should have unique, informative and well-written content on your website covering your main selling points and products. Find out why content writing is important. Essential

Blogs

Like content writing, blogging can increase your reach, and bring new users to your site. You should blog if you have useful content to share. For example product guides, events, latest news, industry commentary. Essential

Social Networks

If your business uses them, social networks should integrated on your site. Add follow links and like boxes to your site to attract new followers. Share buttons help to increase your reach. You can also add feeds such as your Twitter stream or Instagram photos directly into your website. Essential

Non-essential website features

The following are only beneficial in the circumstances outline below.

AMP

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are a very simplified version of your web pages for Mobile users only that load almost instantly when opened on the phone. AMP can help boost your visits from mobile users.

Generating AMP versions of your key articles is not essential, but can be beneficial if your website is slow loading, or your users are in an area of poor internet connection. Nice to have

Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

A website can reach anyone, anywhere, on any device (phone, tablet, PC, even smart TV) – but only when they are online.

Native Smartphone apps are available offline, have an home screen icon to act as a daily reminder to the user that the app is there, and allow the App owner to send push notifications (alerts) to the user to generate interest and market products. But native apps are only available to Smartphone users who have downloaded the App.

PWA combines the wide reach of websites with the visibility, push notifications and offline availability of Native Apps.

Think of a PWA as an App version of your website that can be installed anywhere – Smartphone, tablet or PC. It is available offline, and you can send push notifications to users, for example every time you launch an product, publish a new post, or have a special offer on. Powerful stuff!

Consider PWA like having an extra marketing channel. It has extra set-up and running costs. To take advantage of PWA, you need to be sending regular push notifications to generate interest. A useful extra channel

Vlogs

Vlogs are videos shared regularly on your website – like a blog on film. They help you reach and relate to your audience, growing your follower base.

Consider making a Vlog part of your marketing strategy only if you have something interesting to do or say and have the time and resources to produce good quality video. Certain circumstances

Get expert advice

Choosing the right features for your website will play a big part in your success.

If you have any doubts at all, ask our experienced team to guide you to the right choices quickly and efficiently so you can get on with running your business.

How to choose a web host

Always let your development team choose the web host for the following reasons:

  • They are building the website and know the server requirements.
  • They will have a list of reliable hosting companies based on first-hand experience.
  • It may work out cheaper as web agencies often have discounts with their preferred web host.

I am rebuilding my site – should I change host?

If you are happy with your existing web host, there is no need to change.
I would only change if your have found a better cheaper option, or your are experiencing problems such as downtime, or your website is running slow.

Hosting companies recommended from personal experience

Please note that I have no affiliation with these companies. I have worked with them all at some point in the past and have mainly positive things to say:

  • Hosting companies for large high-traffic websites – Inmotion, Hostpoint, Bluehost
  • Green hosting companies help you reduce your carbon footprintGreengeeks.
  • Italian hosting companies – OVH are the best large company, alternatively we like Serverpoint

Get an expert opinion

Choosing the right hosting company will ensure your website runs quickly and continuously without downtime.

Our experienced team is here to guide you to the right choices quickly and efficiently so you can get on with running your business.

How to pick a good website template for your business

Themeforest alone has thousands of website templates and themes – some are superb, the majority good, whilst others are poor. So how do you pick a good website template for your project?

As the best websites come from a collaboration between business owners and the web designer(s), I recommend one of the following approaches:

  1. Either show your designer the type of website your like – preferably with examples, and let them pick the template.
  2. Or you can choose a minimum of 3 templates you like and let the designer vet the selection.

Either way, you get a template to your liking but the designer always picks the final template, giving the added benefit of their expertise and ensuring a reliable template suitable for your project.

How to avoid problems when picking a template

  • Beware amazing photography. Many templates are image-orientated with large stunning photography chosen for effect. The problem with this is that your photos are unlikely to be so nice. By getting suckered in by beautiful imagery, you forget to look at the actual template and layout – is it suited to your website?
  • Is the template structure suitable for the kind of website want?
  • Is the template popular? Templates with lots of downloads and ratings are likely to be regularly updated – which is good.
  • Also check the template release date, the time of the last update, and how responsive the developers are on their forum/ FAQ section. All signs of a well maintained and frequently updated template. You don’t want to end up with a broken or out-of-date template.
  • Pick a selection of least 3 templates you like, and let your designer make the final choice based on the technical aspects of the template and suitability for your project.

Trust the experts

If you choose the a website template, always consult a professional designer who can help you make the right decisions.

Our experienced team can guide you to the right choices quickly and efficiently so you can get on with running your business.

Which is best – a template or a custom designed website?

When building a new website, there are two options for getting the look you want: using an off-the-shelf template or asking your web agency to build a customized design.

Off-the-shelf templates or themes are cheaper and quicker to set up, but lack the customization, flexibility, branding and originality of a fully customized site.

Which is the best choice for your website?

Either route has its pros and cons. The right choice for your website comes down to budget and company image.

When to get a website template

Use a website template in any of the following situations:

  • When it doesn’t matter if your site looks like another site
  • When you are on a tight budget
  • If you are trying to build your own website and have little experience of web design.

Themeforest is a great place to find a theme. Always check with your developer before purchasing a theme – some themes look great, but under the surface and they have serious flaws.

When to get a customized website design

  • Medium-large companies should always go for a 100% customized website with professional branding and image.
  • Complex websites and web apps are also likely to need a custom design, as website templates will probably not render well on the ad-hoc part of your website/app.

Website template Vs customized design

Website templates Customized design
Set-up time Quick Medium
Branding Restrictive Complete control
Layout and design options Restrictive Complete flexibility and control
Unique No – other websites that look the same Your website is unique
Costs Cheap Can be more expensive

Trust the experts

If you choose the a website template or a custom design, always consult a professional designer who can help you make the right decisions.

Our experienced team is here to guide you to the right choices quickly and efficiently so you can get on with running your business.

Do I need a web designer or web developer – and what’s the difference?

A web designer can build websites and eCommerce using a CMS and usually optimize the site for search for search. A web developer can usually do all this and much more.*

Consequently hiring a web developer is more expensive than a web designer.

Does your project require a web designer or web developer?

If your project is standard, get a good web designer will get the job done. For advanced projects with programming and customizations, hire a developer.

When you need a web designer

  • For standard website design using a CMS such as WordPress.
  • To build a basic eCommerce using a program such as Shopify, Magento, Woocommerce or Prestashop.
  • For simple website customizations such as graphics, structure, layout and content.

When you need a web developer

  • For websites that require advanced customizations with ad-hoc programming.
  • When there are no plugins available to do what you require.
  • For projects involving programming.
  • Advanced integrations such as APIs.
  • Web applications and single page web apps

Skill set – designer Vs developer

Web designer Web developer
Websites built CMS CMS, hand-coded, web applications, advanced customizations, plugins
Programming languages HTML, CSS, Javascript HTML, CSS, Javascript as well as PHP, Javascript libraries (jQuery, Angular), Ajax, MySQLi
Other skills Graphic design, SEO, web marketing Graphic design, SEO, web marketing

Hiring the right team

A site’s success hinges partly on the ability of the development team you hire. Make sure they have advanced knowledge and a track record of delivering great looking websites with a proven results.

If you are looking for advice and a quote, contact us here:


* This post is aimed at website owners and aims to give a simple understanding of the similarities and differences be designers and developers so site stakeholders can make informed decisions. For the purpose of this post I am referring to front-end developers.

Should I Use a DIY Website Builder or Hire a Professional

There are lots of free do-it-yourself website builders that allow you to build your own website with little experience. Wix and Weebly are the market leaders in drag drop website design.

Here is how you can decide whether to use a website builder or hire a professional.

Situations when you can use a DIY website builder

  • You only need a basic site and do not have marketing or SEO goals to meet. For example, a personal blog, a school project, organising something for your local club.
  • You are just getting started, fancy trying your hand at running your own website in the future and want to test the water.
  • Your project has a very low budget

Situations when you MUST hire a professional

  • If you need a professional company website.
  • Projects with marketing goals such as high organic traffic.
  • When you want full control over what your website looks like, how it works and what it does.
  • If you envisage evolving and developing your website over the years, you should start with a more complete website software or CMS.

A word of warning on drag drop website builders

Website builders are made to look super easy in Youtube videos, but it is never really that easy. If you go the DIY route, many templates rely heavily on stunning photos. So make sure you have lots of great photos and know how to crop them to size.

Realistically, if your project or business requires results, unless you are being trained to learn basic web design, I would always trust your site to professionals who have been doing the job for years.

Still not sure?

If you are going the DIY route, we have put the answers to all the most important questions in our getting started blog and here is are reviews of the leading drag-drop packages.

Alternatively, let us build a beautiful professional website that will exceed all of your expectations and deliver concrete results.

Contact us for a free consultation and quote for your new website.

Do I need a CMS and how to pick the right one

Most, but not all websites are built with a CMS.

Read on to find out if you need a CMS and how to pick the right one.

What is a CMS?

A CMS or Content Management System is a software commonly used to build websites.

All CMS come with an easy-to-use admin interface where you can add and edit website content and products.

CMS also have hundreds of useful add-ons (often referred to as plugins or extensions) that allow you to add new functionality to your site such as social buttons, shopping cart, improve your SEO, speed up your site add a gallery etc.

When you need a CMS for your site

Get a CMS if your site is in one or more of the following groups:

  • You will have a large website with lots of pages
  • You will regularly update to your content
  • You will regularly add lots of new content
  • You want to sell through your site
  • You require lots of complicated functionality (CMS will have lots of ready-made plugins to accomplish this)

When you DON’T need a CMS for your site

If your site fits any of the following, you’re better off without a CMS:

  • A highly customized or innovative website. In this case it is unlikely that any CMS will have the add-ons to fit your requirements, so you hire a development team to build a customized site or app.
  • A customized single page application (SPA). The bulky code and functionality of a CMS would be largely unused, and you would still require lots of extra ad-hoc programming to get it to do what you want.
  • A static website with few web pages. A web developer can quickly put together a suitable site. Using a CMS would be overkill.

Which CMS should I choose?

Your choice of CMS is largely determined by the type of website you require (eCommerce or standard website) and where you will target.

CMS for eCommerce

Magento

  • Overview: the complete, powerful, robust software that offers endless possibilities.
  • Ease-of-use: difficult.
  • Set-up: challenging and expensive.
  • Ideal for: larger projects with budget

Prestashop

  • Overview: almost as complete and powerful as Magento.
  • Ease-of-use: easy.
  • Set-up: relatively straight forward. One-off fees for most plugins
  • Ideal for: websites with a small-medium budget

Shopify

  • Overview: slightly less powerful than Magento and Prestashop.
  • Ease-of-use: easy. The back and front-end look great – which is driving Shopify’s popularity.
  • Set-up: easy. Monthly or annual fees for lots of the addons.
  • Shopify can be problematic if you have thousands of products or use drop shipping.
  • Ideal for: simpler eCommerce stores or DIY business owners on a budget.

Woocommerce

  • Overview: Woocommerce IS NOT a specialized eCommerce CMS, but a WordPress plugin. Consequently it lacks some of the advanced eCommerce features of Magento, Prestashop and Shopify. It plugs-in seamlessly to WordPress so you can easily add it to any WordPress site and take advantage of the powerful blogging capability of WordPress.
  • Ease-of-use: very easy.
  • Set-up: very easy.
  • Ideal if you already have an existing WordPress site or require only a basic eCommerce. If you intend to blog often – Woo is a good choice.

CMS for standard websites

I would group standard website CMS into two categories:

  • Do-it-yourself CMS such as WIX and Weebly. These are good for small personal websites and startups without budget as with relatively little experience you can build a great looking site.
  • Professional CMS of which WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the most popular. Having used all three, I recommend WordPress for its ease of use, reliability and popularity.

Get an expert opinion

Choosing the right CMS will make your life easier.

If you have any doubts at all, ask our experienced team to guide you to the right choices quickly and efficiently so you can get on with running your business.

Website, eCommerce or an App – what type of website do I need?

For practical purposes, most websites can be split into 3 general groups – websites, eCommerce (where products can be purchased), or web apps.

So what type of website do you need:

1. Most projects use a standard website often with a CMS

Standard websites are blogs, news sites, portfolio websites, personal websites, subscription sites and forums. I have bunged them into one group as they are all usually built with a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Wix, Joomla or Drupal.

A CMS is the software commonly used to build websites. All CMS come with an easy to use admin interface where you can add and edit your website content.

Here’s how to choose the right CMS for your website.

2. Get an eCommerce if you want to sell online

An eCommerce is a site that sells something. Usually you will have a shopping cart, payment gateway (such as Paypal, Stripe).

Most eCommerce sites are built using an eCommerce-specific CMS such as Shopify, Woocommerce, Prestashop or Magento.

If your project is particularly non-standard and requires extreme customizations, an eCommerce site can be built from scratch or with a framework (i.e. without a CMS) by a specialized web developer.

3. Get a web app if you need highly customized functionality

Web applications are becoming extremely popular. They are commonly single page websites or applications (SPAs) that with highly customized functionality and user experience.
They are usually 100% customized to look and do exactly what you require.

Get an expert opinion

Choosing the right type of website for your business is something you really want to get right first time. I’ve lost count of the number of businesses who have had to rebuild their site with a more appropriate software.

If you have any doubts at all, ask our experienced team to guide you to the right choices quickly and efficiently so you can get on with running your business.

How to choose the best domain extension for your site

Choosing the right domain extension is one of the first decisions you will be faced with – and affects your SEO and branding. Getting it right will pays dividends.

Here is how to choose the best domain extension for your website.

Country Extensions and General Extensions – what’s the difference?

Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) for example .co.uk for the United Kingdom are domain extensions created specifically for websites targeting the corresponding country. They are the best way to show users and search engines where your site originates. All things being equal, yoursite.co.uk will rank higher in the UK than yoursite.com.

General Top Level Domains (gTLD) are not country specific. .com, .net, .co and .org are the most popular. All things being equal, yoursite.com and yoursite.net rank equally well worldwide – as is confirmed in Google’s guidelines.

Here’s the simple rule of thumb:

Use a general domain to rank well world wide. Use a country code domain to target and rank well in a specific country.

Now lets look at the different permutations of this.

How to choose the best domain extension for your site

1. When to choose a country level domain (e.g. .co.uk)

A country level domain is the best choice when your website is targeted to just one country. For example, a .it domain is best used for Italian websites targeting the Italian market.

Why? From a search engine point of view, a .it domain is ranked higher than a comparable general domain website in Italy.

2. When to choose a general domain (eg. .com)

A general domain is the ideal for business wanting good visibility around the world but without the budget and resources to invest in a language website for each country.

Why? From an SEO point of view, general domains are your solid all rounder that will perform reasonably well in every country.

Disadvantages – in a specific country, general domains do not rank as well as the country domain. So we do not recommend this approach for big business who want to target a specific country.

3. When to buy both country & general domains (but have only 1 website)

If you have international ambitions, purchase both your country level and general domain. If you only have 1 site, ask your developer to set up a redirect from one the country to the general level domain.

Why? Having both domains in the bag shows a strong sense of branding, and keeps your options open for international expansion at a later date. Anyone typing yoursite.it will be taken automatically to the yoursite.com and you will not lose clients. It also avoids businesses snapping up your yoursite.com and selling it back to you at hefty price.

Recommended for: small businesses without the resource to manage two separate websites.

4. When to buy both country & general domains and run separate language websites

Put your local language website on the country level domain e.g..it for Italian, and your English website on the general domain.

Why? You have the best chance to rank your language website in the country of origin, whilst the English language site on the general domain will rank well internationally.

Recommended for: medium sized business with resources and budget to maintain and market 2+ websites. As a rule of thumb, a business should have at least one person dedicated full time to each local language website.

5. Buy the general and country level domains for each target country

Global brands such as Apple, HSBC and Starbucks all have regional websites on the corresponding country level domains for each country they operate. They use the .com to direct customers to their country-level domain.

Why? This is the best solution to rank well in each country. It also allows customization of each website to local tastes.

Recommended for: multinational companies with the resources and budget to run and market a website in each country.

Get an expert opinion

Choosing the best domain extension is an important part of your SEO. Our experienced, international team will guide you to the right choices quickly and efficiently so you can get on with running your business.

How to choose a great domain name

Your domain name is a fundamental part of your branding and will also influence your SEO. It is how thousands of customers will find you online.

Your choice of domain name depends on if you already have a company name or not.

Choosing a domain when you already have a company name

If you already have a business, and the domain name is available, you should choose your company name – customers are already familiar with the name and it will make it easy to find you.

Choosing a domain when your already have a company name but the .COM has been taken

If you already have a business, and the .COM domain name has been bought by someone else, you have 3 options:

  1. Contact the domain owner (run a whois to get their details) and see if they are willing to sell.
  2. Choose an alternative domain extension such as .CO, .NET or .ORG
  3. Choose a different domain name starting from scratch (see below)

Choosing a domain from scratch

If your business is new or your company name has been taken, here are 4 tips for choosing a great domain name:

  1. Choose a short and memorable domain name (1 or 2 words without hyphens or underscores).
  2. Ensure your domain name is easy to read, write and understand in your target markets.
  3. Include a keyword if possible. This will help with help customers find you in search and has SEO benefits.
  4. Ensure all domain extensions are available. So if you are targeting England and Italy, make sure that the .CO.UK, .IT and .COM domains are all available. This helps customers find you and re-enforces your branding.

Errors to avoid when picking your domain

  • Avoid numbers and funny symbols like hyphens and underscore – they are difficult to remember and considered spam.
  • Does your domain name have an unintended meaning in other languages?

Get an expert opinion

Choosing the right domain name helps customers find you. Our experienced, international team will guide you to the right choices quickly and efficiently so you can get on with running your business.

Key differences between English and Italian SEO

SEO is search engine optimization?
Correct!

So English and Italian SEO are the same?
Well yes, and no.

If you have great Italian content before translating and optimizing your website and content for the English speaking market (or vice versa), here are some important differences you need to know.

4 things to know before you producing content writing and SEO in English

1. The English market is very competitive

There are approximately 100 times more English websites to Italian. So perhaps for every competitor in Italy your English language site will have 10.

2. English language search is more advanced – choose content writers who know their stuff!

Most testing and advances in search engine ranking algorithms are all done first in English. So there is a definite lag in algorithms reaching Italian search engines.

Make sure your SEOs and content writers are up to the job!

3. The English market is larger = more investment to get results

If you can hack the English language market, the rewards are of course larger. However with all that extra cash floating around, firms invest aggressively in SEO and content writing to get results.

4. The web is relatively saturated in English language info, so niche-up or innovate.

You can find a vast amount of high quality information online in English about almost anything. To compete in organic search, your articles, guides, blogs, vlogs, infographics etc. will need to be at least as good as the best out there.

One of the best ways to do this is specialise in a niche area or find a way to innovate: do something that has not been done before. This last one can be difficult – I know, I failed many times in the past before a formula for success.

Get a quote for your multilingual content

  • We are content writing experts with years of experience
  • #1 on Google with featured snippet
  • Simple, robust formula
  • Proven results

Fixes for big, high-traffic websites that crash at peak times

A large website with thousands of pages and hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors is what most business can only dream of.

But should you do if your site keeps crashing during peak times?

I’ve seen it!

Just when you have a viral post or get on the mainstream news, your site crashes. At a time when all your hard work should be paying off, you end with nothing. Major bummer!

Common problems for high traffic websites suffering downtime and crashes

I’ve worked on a number of such sites, and it can be difficult troubleshooting cause of the problem. Often there are several causes.

Here are common causes of a website crash at peak times:

  • Large websites become bloated with code, plugins, images and video, which slow down page loading and the server.
  • Inefficient code with too many requests can jam and crash the server.
  • Major coding errors and loops strain the server.
  • The wrong choice of web host or hosting configuration is also a common cause. If you see large spikes in your traffic, you will need a hosting plan that can handle this.

How to fix your website crashed and avoid downtime

Don’t get downbeat – there is always a solution.

The worst case scenario would be building the site with a fresh CMS and importing your old posts. But it is often much more straightforward

The first thing you need is an experienced web developer to analyse your site and identify the source(s) of the problem. The solution is likely to be one or a combination of the following:

  • Spring cleaning your site – updating your CMS, fixing code, cleaning your database, streamlining code, removing redundant plugins and code.
  • Fixing errors and bugs.
  • Reducing server requests.
  • Speed up your website – reducing image size, caching
  • Moving to a more powerful hosting plan that can handle your high traffic volume and website spikes in traffic

Sick of your slow website? Get help here

If you have traffic of over 100,000 visits a month, we offer a free website consultation. Speed up your website and avoid crashes during peak periods.

Get a free website consultation

SEO Vs Content Writing – Why SEO does NOT Mean Loads of Extra Visitors

Today I want to dispel a common myth surrounding SEO, highlight the difference between SEO and content writing, and briefly demonstrate how you can use the two to get thousands more website visits.

The myth: “SEO-ing” your website will dramatically boost visitors

Having read a few blogs online, clients often ask me to “SEO” their site – like there is a magic wand. This usually comes with with the expectation that a flick of the wrist will produce a meteoric rise in website visitors as their site beats off all comers.

Now this can happen – and does, particularly with websites that already have great content but are suffering a major indexing issue: though in general this is not the norm.

Let’s face it, if that was the case, everyone would be optimizing their sites… which actually they are!

And that’s my point!

If everyone is optimizing their website, you are going to need something extra to stand out: and that is where content come in (which we will get to in a minute).

So what’s the use of SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is about:

  • optimizing your website so search engines can understand and serve your content when appropriate.
  • ensuring your site compares well in terms of performance and user experience when pitted against direct competitors.

So in addition to helping Google understand what your pages are about, SEO also includes metrics like page speed, responsive design and the website’s ability to engage users and reading.

Your website cannot rank well if it takes too long to load. It will not rank on mobile if you do not have a responsive or mobile version. If users continually prefer competitor sites to your own, this too will tank your rank.

SEO addresses all of these points and much more.

Why simply SEO-ing your site not enough

Popular websites rank in the top 3 places of Google for bucket loads of important search terms.

However in most sectors there are tens or even hundreds of sites competing for the top spots. Most of these sites are well optimized, so clearly you need something else to stand out…

Cue great content.

Fact – Google loves great content!

If you are really serious about number 1 rankings and getting thousands of organic visits, you need to produce excellent content, or to be precise, significantly better content than your SERP competitors.

Most clients will find a website by asking questions on Google, Alexa or wherever. For example:

“Attractions for kids in Rome”
“What are the health benefits of avocado?”
“How to get flat stomach”

To rank top for these searches (and so get the traffic), your website must provide THE BEST ANSWERS. Website optimization is clearly not going to be enough. You’re going to have to hit the ball out of the park: you will need to produce some industry leading content that your clients love.

How do I get great content?

The best way to go about this is to develop a content strategy:

  • Determine which products or services you want to promote.
  • Check out the competition. Realistically can you improve on their content?
  • Brainstorm – write a comprehensive list of likely questions clients search for.
  • Write your content making sure you answer the questions directly – this could be in any of the following forms, or even a mix – guides, instructions, classic news articles, infographics, videos and so on. Leading content is often served over different media, allowing users to watch, listen or read as they choose.

Get a content strategy today

How to Boost Profit 20% by Getting a Holiday Rentals Website – Rather than Relying on AirBnb

Way back in 2015 when a client asked me to build this website to advertise their Italian holiday rental homes, my first thoughts were they were mad!

When you can use Airbnb to fill your rentals year-round, why throw away money on your own site?

Happily… after some reflection the answer came to me!

I am going to show you why it makes economic sense, and why so many landlords are creating a website to market their holiday rentals, as well as advertising through platforms like Airbnb, Booking and HomeAway.

The advantages of your own property rental website

The advantages are purely financial.

Online booking platforms charge 15-20% per booking. So if you can channel would-be-guests or returning visitors through to your own website, you stand to make 15-20% more on your lettings.

For example, if your rental business makes you £20,000 a year, that equates to an extra £4,000 a year – in most cases, comfortably covering the set-up costs of your new website.

Can I do it? … wont this pee off Airbnb?

It’s a free world – and there are no rules against it.

In fact, Airbnb are acutely aware of this: whenever you make contact with a customer or landlord, a short message states that it is better to remain within their booking system, and avoid direct contact through your personal email.

But again – there’s nothing stopping you from doing it.

The only downside is you miss out on the security offered by rental platforms through payments and damage insurance. Though if you ever do suffer damages it is difficult to reclaim anyway.

Tips for driving customers to your holiday letting website

As you cannot add a web address or phone number to your Airbnb listing, you need to give customers an alternate way to find you online (hint – use a unique name).

  1. The major vacation home letting websites dominate Google search, and that is where the market is. So register your holiday homes on at least one of them – Airbnb, Booking and Homeaway. If in doubt, just go for the biggest player in your country.
  2. Choose a unique name – this is key, and will allow any web savvy user to search for you on Google and easily find your site of the same name (step 4). Thousands of landlords are now doing this.
  3. Complete your profile, add beautiful pictures and set competitive pricing inline with similar properties in the area. It is also a good idea to start building up genuine client reviews to attract customers to your listing.

    (these first 3 steps are all you need to ensure good visibility and potential bookings)

  4. Set up your holiday lettings website using the exact name you chose in step 2.

That’s it!

Steps 1-3 get you the visibility, step 4 provides customers a way to Google you.

Tip – don’t be greedy. Remember that Airbnb is a great platform and they are giving you unprecedented access to the lettings market. Besides, curating a trusted, visited profile with lots of bookings and positive reviews on AirBnb is important and will encourage more people to stay with you.

See what we can do for you – Get a quote

Apartments, B&B, guest house, holiday home or villa – it doesn’t matter – we craft beautiful accommodation websites that boost your profit.

It makes sense!

  • Manage all of your holiday rental properties and the associated bookings from a single website.
  • Earn 15-20%
  • Property availability calendar
  • Mobile friendly, beautiful design, search friendly – your guests will love you!
  • 2 weeks to set up!

Running a Successful Website in 2019 – What You Need to know.

The options to get your business online and the marketing channels available are growing and evolving.

Anyone can set up a website, but what do you need in 2019 to run a successful website?

(short answer) Offer the best product/service on the market, and make it easily available and to as wide an audience as possible i.e. across the growing list of channels – website, apps, PWAs, social networks, market places.

People are fussy about how they consume, so market yourselves in your user’s preferred format (blog, video, images, mobile apps, social media or audio reader).

(long answer) Choose the area you want to improve in 2019:

Have the best website

The usual suspects

Aim for a lightening quick website with outstanding content, tailored to each individual device (PC, smartphone, tablets).

Do you have an outstanding website

Speed has been an important ranking factor for years. Analyses suggests that you have just 3 seconds to impress the average user before they disappear to another website.

Outstanding content is important because the web is so competitive. If other sites offer better content and market it well enough, then they will get the top spots in organic search and more shares across social media platforms – a notable competitive advantage.

In 2019 your website will still need all of the usual features – a great design; ease of use; search engine optimization (SEO) is as important as ever; use schema to highlight your products and services; and of course you need a responsive design.

Fix all broken links and make sure your coding is error free.

Unless you’ve been sheltering in an bunker for the past 10 years, you’ve likely noticed that many major websites have been hacked – LinkedIn, eBay, Playstation, (its a big list).

Hackers are continually testing for security flaws – and unfortunately we’re all fair game. Make sure your software is kept up-to-date and that you have firewalls and security checks in place.

New for 2019

2018 was the year Google switched to mobile first indexing, meaning the mobile (rather than desktop) version of your site is now used for search rankings.

Audit your mobile website. Make sure you offer a great mobile experience – fast loading pages, search friendly and easy to use.

Accelerated mobile pages - AMPConsider offering accelerated mobile pages (AMP). These are essentially simplified versions of your webpages served to mobile users that load almost instantly.

PWA Progressive Web AppsProgressive Web Apps (PWA) are becoming very important.

PWAs are essentially versions of your website that look and work like a native mobile app. They have an icon on your phones home screen, and do push notifications – both greatly increasing your visibility. Like native apps, they download to the phone and so are available offline – great for news sites and blogs.

Voice search is taking off30% of search is predicted to be voice by 2020. To take advantage of this, make sure your website content is geared up for voice search. Short, simple, concise answers to all the important questions regarding your products, services and areas of expertise is a good start.

Due to advancements in programming, Web Apps are popping up everywhere and will be huge in 2019.

Web apps are customized applications that allow users to interact with other websites, data services and APIs; making calculations, providing real time information in a 100% customized way. Examples are loan calculators, live currency conversion, a map of live earthquakes, parcel delivery tracking, etc.

Developing a web app can open new doors for your business. Aim to bring a unique and valuable service to your users that cannot be found elsewhere. The technology is there, with endless possibilities, the trickiest part can be just finding the right idea.

User experience

The usual suspects

Users expect your website to be quick, extremely easy to use, and tailored to their device. Your mobile site should have a simpler interface than desktop, even if under the surface there is much more going on.

Keep things simple. Each page should have clear goals (registration, newsletter sign up, social shares, generating a contact, or making a sale) achieved with clear, colorful call-to-action buttons. Here are some good examples.

The business end of any website is the form used to obtaining contact info or make a sale.

Keeping fields to a minimum will improve completion, but using exquisitely designed forms will really set you apart and boost completions – because people inherently trust well-designed forms.

Multistep forms, progress bars, encouragement, live validation and autocomplete add to a positive user experience.
National geographic forms

National geographic completely disguise their forms – replacing monotonous check boxes, radio buttons and drop downs with images and graphics, enticing users to take part.

New for 2019

Here’s one of my favourite ways to stand out…

When a user completes a form, they expect a bog standard thank you message and confirmation email.

In reality, this is the absolute best time to sell or offer something else. You’ve done the hard work of attracting them to your site, guiding them down your sales funnel, and they have completed your form – so strike while the iron is hot!

Do something unexpected – instead of the standard thank you message, offer a freebie, a month’s subscription, a discount, fidelity points, access to exclusive content etc.

Augmented reality in eCommerce

Finally, Augmented Reality is becoming the next shift in eCommerce. Find ways for consumers to experience your products before they buy, this could be something like virtual try-ons for clothes or seeing how furniture would look in their house.

Build a library of outstanding content

The usual suspects

Unique, well-written content is the most effective way to dramatically increase organic traffic. As a rule of thumb, it only needs to be better than your competitors.

Blog posts, product guides, long reads and informative evergreen articles all work well. Interested – here’s a case study.

New for 2019

If Your Money Your Life (YMYL) websites are an early warning indicator of future SEO trends then this one could be big: many small business websites or home bloggers offering advice in areas such as health, law and finance have seen their organic visits plummet in 2018.

The reason?

A google algorithm update with stricter rules on what is deemed credible and newsworthy.

Although the update is about dealing with the fake news problem plaguing the web, many popular websites appear to have suffered collateral damage.

Aim for high quality, informative content that you can back up with reliable references.

Readers are fussy about how they consume. Make you content available in a variety of media formats – classic blog articles, infographics, video and consider using a content reader. For example if your market are gen Z, you certainly want some of your marketing through in video.

To make your content stand out further, find ways to make it interactive. Use micro-animations to make browsing your site a memorable process and guide users to where you want.

Website credibility

Although fake news has been around since day 1 on the web, the 2016 US election and UK Brexit, brought it under the spot light. Ever since, and for the foreseeable future, Google, Facebook et al have been developing algorithms for weeding out misleading news.

Proving your website as an authoritive and credible source is fundamental in 2019.

Whilst a trustworthy website helps convince clients and increase your sales, if your website is deemed untrustworthy or worse, a source of misleading information – be warned – you are likely to experience a serious drop in traffic coming soon.

The usual suspects

Make sure your articles are of interest to your clients, relevant to your products, well written and of course true!

Client reviews can demonstrate reliability and breed trust

You can improve website credibility with customer reviews, author profiles in your posts, testimonies from celebrities, showing your team on your website, building a large social network following and getting your social media profiles validated.

Regularly authoring articles on major industry websites will further boost your web presence and show that you are an authority within your niche.

New in 2019

A powerful way to boost your credibility and profile is to get your major articles peer reviewed or co-written. A health article peer reviewed by professionals from 5 top health websites oozes credibility. Teaming up with major players may also allow you to leverage their followers.

Win win!

I also like the idea of teaming up with colleagues to cross-post on their social media channels to grow both of your followings. This works well when their followers find your content interesting, but you are not in direct competition.

Live chat

Are live chat popups annoying or do you use them? The answer to this probably depends on the context in which they are used. I often use them on product pages for quick pre-sales questions – a good way to clear up any lingering doubts.

Social network marketing

The usual subjects

This is not my realm, so will just mention what I have seen over the past year.

Social media continues to be a great place for interacting with users, sharing information and keeping in touch with industry news.

Try to understand where your users hang out? Choose the right social networks for your business.

New for 2019

Facebook is going down route of sponsored posts so businesses are getting far less organic visibility in Facebook feeds.

Brands with large Facebook followings have seen their organic reach plummet over the past few years so don’t expect lots of free Facebook traffic to your site in 2019.

I would point you towards video, which gets the best user engagement and the new Facebook Stories feature which at the end of 2018 is relatively underused (= less competition) yet often at the top of the users news feed (= an opportunity).

Pay per click (PPC) advertising

Google Ads, LinkedIn and Facebook advertising are all extra channels to complement your websites organic traffic.

If you consider that the top 4 Google search results are often paid ads, then in many industries PPC ad campaigns are a powerful if not essential online marketing channel.

Google Ads

With PPC, you pay a small amount for every new visitor who clicks through to your website. If your campaign is to be economically viable, you need to make more sales than you pay out for ads. So it is essential that your ads are correctly optimized and that you have carefully studied landing pages created by a landing page expert.

Anything short of this, and your campaigns will NEVER be economically viable as you will not get a high enough conversion rate to cover the cost of running the campaign.

Get this right and you can up you campaign budget and watch your business flow.

Conclusion

So there you are – exactly what you need to know to run a successful website in 2019.

Obviously you can’t do all of this – pick the most relevant to your business and implement them.

Many of these innovations are still in their early stages, and only the forward thinking businesses have adopted them. They are relatively underused and adopting one or two of them will help get you ahead of the curve and give you a competitive edge.

If you any questions or need help with any of this, we are a professional web agency with a track record of proven results here to help you.

Ask a question

We Helped this Company Dominate Google Search

I want to share with you some of the outstanding results we are achieving for our clients every single day.

These figures are not one-offs!

They are the result of a carefully executed plan, and we are seeing them more and more frequently.

We Helped Kontak Dominate Google Search

Italian firm Kontak specialize in beehive products. Offline they are well-known with products widely available in pharmacies and health stores, but had few website visitor.

In 2015 we re-built their website and improve their online visibility.

The traffic has begun to rocket

By autumn 2016, the website was #1 on Google for 100+ different keyword search terms. We also got a number Featured Snippets (a dedicated box with photo right at the top of Google search – see below).

Dominate google search - featured snippets

Website traffic has increased dramatically and Kontak continue to dominate Google search for their industry. We estimate that about 90% of the online Italian market searching for products such as propolis will end up on their website.

Results we achieved for Kontak

  • Huge increase in website traffic.
  • #1 position on Google for over 100 different key words and phrases.
  • Google cites the website as the number one resource online for subjects such as propolis by providing dedicated Featured Snippets for the Kontak website at the top of search result pages.
  • The website is consistently positioned above sites like Wikipedia.

Kontak - experts in beehive products, dominate offline and now online

How did we do it

Established in the 1990s Kontak were already leaders in their field and successful offline.

Offline success can help catalyze online success.

Our task was to effectively translate their knowledge and expertise to the internet.

Here’s how we achieved this:

  • A new high quality, well-organized, responsive website.
  • Clearly communicated website
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • We wrote high quality guides to their products. The aim here was simple: create THE BEST online resource for each product. Learn about content writing and why it works.

Like I said – no secrets! And you are welcome to try for yourselves.

Or instead of plugging away for a year and grasping around in the dark, you can hire us – experts with a proven track record of superb results.

We’ll give you a winning marketing plan, and work to implement the strategy in as little as a month, following proven techniques that work time and time again.

A special approach

Many people think of a web agency as team of designers sat round Macs building sites. For me, this is just the first and lesser part of the job.

What’s the use of a website without the visitors?

Ask yourself an honest question: Your clients are Googling right now for products – will they find you or will they end up on a competitor website?

We can bring new clients to your websites every day.

Unlike most web designers, we specialize in building websites that dominate online search.

Here are just some of the results we have achieved:

  • Read how we consistently double, triple and quadruple website traffic.
  • We take established websites to the top of Google search in competitive sectors – gaining #1 position on Google for hundreds of different key phrases.
  • We help new companies completely dominate within their sector.

Take your website to the next level

Contact us to book an initial discussion.

We Increased Traffic by 170% in 5 Months on this Leading Health Website

I want to share with you some of the outstanding results we are achieving for our clients every single day.

These figures are not one-offs!

They are the result of a carefully executed plan, and we are seeing them more and more frequently.

We boosted the Google traffic on Juicing for Health 170% in 5 months

With 1.1 Million Facebook followers Juicing for Health is a popular health website.

Relaunching the website in 2017 we achieved a 170% increase in monthly Google visits within 5 months.

We Increased Traffic by 170% on this Leading Health Website in 5 Months - restructure, SEO and content writing

HEY! STOP A MOMENT and THINK about that….

How would you like your website traffic to go up by 2.7x in a few months?

What effect would this have on your revenue? How would this affect your profits?

For many businesses, this may seem hard to believe. For us it is a regular day at the office. We continually achieve results like this every day for clients around the world.

How do you increase traffic to an already hugely popular health website?

Juicing for Health was already a successful website with over 2 million monthly visitors. What we actually did is no secret and would produce outstanding results on most websites I see today.

The key is having the knowledge and experience to make the changes.

Here’s an overview of what we did:

  • A website restructure to improve communication and user experience.
  • We sped the website up (halving the amount of code and optimizing the database to one-fifth the original size.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • We rewrote core articles.

Like I said – no secrets! And you are welcome to try for yourselves.

Or instead of plugging away for a year and grasping around in the dark, you can hire us – experts with a proven track record of superb results.

We’ll give you a winning marketing plan, and work to implement the strategy in as little as a month, following proven techniques that work time and time again.

A special approach

Many people think of a web agency as team of designers sat round Macs building sites. For me, this is just the first and lesser part of the job.

What’s the use of a website without the visitors?

Ask yourself an honest question: Your clients are Googling right now for products – will they find you or will they end up on a competitor website?

We can bring new clients to your websites every day.

Unlike most web designers, we specialize in building websites that dominate online search.

Here are just some of the results we have achieved:

  • We take established websites to the top of Google search, gaining #1 positions on Google for hundreds of keywords.
  • We help new companies completely dominate within their sector.
  • We have turned around failing online businesses in such a way that they now dominate search and clients can no longer avoid their website even if they want to!

Take your website to the next level

If you read this far, you probably have a website and suspect that it is under-performing.

WHat are you waiting for:

How to Sell Online – the Business Owner’s Guide to eCommerce

So you have a great products and wondering how many more sales you can make by selling online. You may have already made the decision to open an online store and are looking for guidance.

Well you’re in the right place!

eCommerce is an attractive option. It offers a new sales channel and opens your business to new, wordlwide market.

This beginner’s guide to eCommerce answers all the important questions to help you get started.

Before making the leap

Should you sell online?

Selling online has some huge advantages such as a worldwide customer base and 24/7 selling, but can your business succeed?

To sell successfully online, you must be able to satisfy the points below:

  • You have the rights to sell a product.
  • A guaranteed supply. If you’re buying from one producer, you are gambling on a reliable supply. What if the products are discontinued or the supplier goes bust? You must have a contingency plan.
  • Competitive prices. Online buyers shop around. If they can find your trainers for less elsewhere, say bye bye.
  • Resources. To compete, you will need a minimum 1 person available per website language to manage and market your online store.

Where do you want to sell – National or International?

The beauty of eCommerce is that it is borderless. One of the first big decisions to make is which countries you want to target and whether your website will be multilingual. Your target market will determine how your website needs to be set up and configured.

I want to sell online, what are the options available?

To start selling online, you have two options:

1. Sell on a market place such as Amazon or eBay

Selling through a market place is a great option if you would like to test the water before investing in your own eCommerce website. You can quickly and easily create a store front and start selling on marketplace websites such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy.

Advantages: low setup cost, and the huge number of people who shop on these platforms.
Cons: you pay large commissions on each order; lack of professional branding; you are never completely in control of your shop (terms and conditions change often on Amazon and eBay).

2. Open an eCommerce website

Alternatively you can open your own eCommerce website. You will need an eCommerce expert to set up a store for you. You will then have a control panel where you can manage your catalogue, pricing and orders.

Advantages: professional; you have complete autonomy in running your store; independent – your site is in your hands; no commissions.
Cons: higher set-up cost.

eCommerce tip:
A survey found 46% of shoppers start searching on Amazon. Even if you have your own eCommerce, it can be a good idea to also offer your products on Amazon and eBay to increase your reach.

Guide to eCommerce: Market research - questions before committing to eCommerce

Market Research

Is your business logistically viable?

Shipping heavy or fragile goods can be expensive and risky. Selling £5 products and sending to the other side of the world is probably not viable. Before jumping in consider the logistics of where you want to sell, can you transport it, and what happens in case of damages or returned products.

Are your products competitively priced?

How do your prices compare to international competitors? What about the standard of service you provide? Compared to domestic competitors you are probably already have extra costs and delivery times due to shipping – so how you are going to go that extra mile to beat them?

Will there be a market for your products?

Just because your products sell well in store, it doesn’t mean they will sell online and overseas. Different cultures, different tastes and even lack of product awareness must be considered.

Check out the competition

Well established competitors with an army of followers are hard to displace. Is there room for you in an already crowded market? What can you bring along that is new or different?

Analyze all major online competitors and work out how you can beat each one for pricing, quality of service and marketing.

Guide to eCommerce: Setting up an eCommerce website

Setting up your eCommerce website

Should I choose a .COM or a country domain?

– If you are only selling nationally, a country top level domain such as .CO.UK, or .IT is best for website optimization.
– Small-medium international eCommerce are usually best off with a .COM domain.
– Large international eCommerce will probably have a separate website for each target country

Unsure which to choose? This guide will help you.

How to choose a good domain name

Here are some tips for choosing a domain name:

  • Short and memorable (1-2 words without hyphens).
  • Internationally recognized – easy to write and understand by speakers of your second website language.
  • Include a keyword if possible. This will help with help customers find you and have a positive effect on your SEO.

» Choose the perfect domain for your multilingual website

Choose the right eCommerce software for your business model

Magento, Prestashop, Shopify and WooCommerce are all great choices. There is no perfect platform, and the choice depends largely on your business needs:

Magento eCommerce

Magento

Magento is the most complete eCommerce and popular among large businesses.

Pros: endless possibilities, loads of eCommerce features.
Cons: expensive to set up; the most difficult to administer – so you either need to know your way around or hire someone who does; can be slow.
Best for: large companies with the budget and resources to run the website.

Prestashop eCommerce

Prestashop

Prestashop is also a powerful purpose built eCommerce with a huge number of eCommerce features.

Pros: Prestashop has lots of eCommerce functionality, is easier to set up and maintain compared to Magento and quicker to run.
Cons: Prestashop doesn’t have a brilliant blogging platform, so it can be hard to grow your client base through your blog.
Prestashop is best for: small-medium eCommerce single that need lots of features.

Shopify eCommerce

Shopify

Shopify is a great platform for small shops or for beginners looking for a DIY eCommerce. The platform is essentially rented so you never really own the website

Pros: quick and easy to set up, easy to administer, great support, stunning templates to get the look you want even with no programming knowledge.
Cons: poor blogging software; not suited to multi-language websites; monthly rental fees; your are “Locked in” with Shopify – if you ever decide to switch to another software, migration will be messy.
Shopify is best for: small businesses with a single-language website looking to self-administer and grow their online businesses.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce

Woocommerce is different to the rest as it is not a stand-alone eCommerce but an add on to WordPress. What it lacks for in eCommerce tools, it makes up for in it’s blogging and content marketing abilities.

Pros: fairly cheap and easy to set up; it will tag on to an existing WordPress website; one of the best blogging platforms (WordPress)
Cons: WooCommerce lacks the advanced eCommerce features of Prestashop and Magento; not suitable for a big eCommerce store with 1000+ products.
WooCommerce is best for: startups and smaller businesses who either already have a WordPress website or require a powerful blogging platform with their eCommerce.

Already got website? Use an eCommerce Addon

If you already have a successful website then the best option may be to add on an eCommerce extension rather than starting from scratch. Both Joomla and WordPress have great eCommerce extensions (Hikashop and WooCommerce respectively).

Advantages of using an extension instead of creating a separate eCommerce website:

  • Cheaper to set-up
  • Easier to run and maintain as you have just 1 site rather than 2.
  • The eCommerce will integrate seamlessly with your blog.

» I already have a website – can I add eCommerce?

Should You Hire a Web Designer?

Yes. Online stores are complicated to setup so you will need to hire an eCommerce specialist to get you up and running. As well as saving you an enormous amount of time, you will also get off on the right foot with a professional tailored to your business requirements.

Stunning high quality photos only please!

Same product - professional photo Vs home-made DIY photography

We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – but everyone does! Professional product photos help your shop to gain trust and convince visitors that buying your product will be worth it.

» Boost sales with these awesome product photography tips

Add your products

This is one part that you can certainly do yourselves with the guidance of your web agency. Unless you have a unique patented product or exclusive rights to sell in your country, write unique product titles and informative descriptions to set your products apart from competitors.

Select your Payment Gateway

Now the fun really begins – allow your customers to pay you.

Payment gateways vary in pricing. There are a number of Payment Gateways each charging different monthly fees and commission on sales. Paypal is the most widely used for payment method for shopping carts, not because it’s the cheapest (it’s not), but because it is well-known and trusted. Online shoppers are wary of using a payment method that they have never heard of.

Here are some of the major payment gateways.

  • Paypal: easy set-up, well known, trusted and widely accepted. Downside – not the cheapest. Paypal is a good starter, but you may want to switch later as your sales grow.
  • Stripe: flexible, widely accepted. Downside – less well known.
  • Authorize.net: low monthly fees to use the service, lower transaction fees than PayPal, but only available in a handful of countries.
  • Sagepay: trusted, slightly cheaper than Paypal.

Get a blog integrated with your eCommerce

A blog is the most effective way to bring visitors to your website and send them down the sales funnel.

Test your website

Guide to eCommerce: Launch and test eCommerce and shopping cart

Your new store is ready to launch!

Rarely is a website perfect out of the box. Most web agencies will offer a testing / trial period for you to get used to your new site and make any final changes – collect feedback and act on it!

Eyeball your website

Test drive your new shop. Is it easy to navigate? Does it load quickly? Is it easy to buy products and manage orders?

» How good is your website? Find out here!

Test on tablet and mobile devices

Here’s a biggie – mobile now accounts for roughly 50% of all search traffic and advancements in responsive design and mobile friendly user interface have meant that many shoppers now buy on their phone. If your website has a great mobile usability with a quick payment process, then you can leave your competitors behind on mobile.

Browse your site on your phone and tablet and make a few dummy payments. Can you make the buying experience any easier?

Gather feedback and act on it

Monitor your Google Analytics reports and website usage statistics – seek ways to improve. Collect client feedback and act on it.

FAQ – Selling online

Further questions about your setting up your online store

Should I also sell on Amazon or eBay?

A study of 2000 US consumers found that 44% of online shoppers start their search on Amazon. So yes – setting up a sister store on Amazon or eBay can help broaden your brand reach. Research will help you determine where your customers shop.

How much does an eCommerce store cost?

The cost of building an eCommerce depends on lots of factors including the number of products, languages and quality of the finished store. Contact us for a quote.

Where can I find out more?

Here are some of my favourite resources for finding more about selling online:

eCommerce Fuel – in depth discussion on all things eCommerce,
Copy Blogger – grow your website through your blog,
Neil Patel – advice on growing your online customer base.
Product photography tips – boost sales with these tips.

Next steps

eCommerce is a major commitment.

Take time to decide if it is right for you.

Use the questions in this guide to create a plan of what you want to sell, where and how. When you’re ready, choose an eCommerce developer with track record of building successful eCommerce.

The Complete Guide to a Successful Multi-Language Website

So your business is booming and you’ve started to attract interest overseas.

How many more people could you reach by translating your website?

There’s no question: a multilingual website allows you to reach a new market.

Who is this guide for?

  1. Established businesses with a successful website looking to add extra languages to their website.
  2. Startups and new businesses considering creating a multilingual website.

» Surprising advantages of adding a language to your website

Important decisions to make before starting a multilingual website

The Complete Guide to a Successful Multi-Language Website - choose the languages for your website

Decide which languages want on your website?

The first thing to decide is which languages you want on your website. This will largely depend on your business expansion goals. But an important consideration is your human resources: to be successful online you will need to blog regularly and lease with customers. Will you have mother tongue speakers on your team who can do this?

Blogging and marketing in many languages is hard work. If you are unsure, we recommend starting with just one extra language. Other languages can be added later.

The Complete Guide to a Successful Multi-Language Website - which countries or regions will you target?

Which countries will you target?

Do you want to target a specific country or do you just need to translate your website without specific regional targeting? This will influence your choice of domain, hosting and website structure.

For example English is spoken around the world, but if you are opening offices in Australia you will want a different website set-up to if you are opening in the UK.

Can you provide one dedicated member of staff per website language?

Blogging, marketing, orders and client requests – running a successful multi-lingual website is time consuming. We recommend the Golden Rule of Multilingual Marketing – try and dedicate at least one team member full time per website language.

Is there are market for your products abroad?

When opening up to international markets you are often dealing with unknowns. Is there actually a market for you product, and if so can you compete on price, quality of service and brand name? It is important you do sound market research before diving in – jump to the Market Analysis section below.

Elements of a successful multilingual website

Should I choose a .com domain or a country domain?

When creating a multilingual website choosing the right domain is one of the first major decisions you will be faced with – and getting it right from the start will pay you dividends. Do you go for a .COM or choose a country specific domain like .CO.UK or .FR?

Your choice of domain type will depend on your budget and future business plans. Unsure which to choose? Use this excellent guide, or contact us for a professional advice.

» Choose the perfect domain for your multilingual website

How to choose a domain name and hosting for international SEO

If your website is new, here are tips for choosing a domain name:

  • Short and memorable (1-2 words without hyphens).
  • Internationally recognized – easy to write and understand by speakers of your second website langauge.
  • Include a keyword if possible. This will help with help customers find you and have a positive effect on your SEO.
  • Ensure all versions are available. So if you are targeting Italy and England make sure that .IT , .CO.UK and .COM are all available. Having all these domains pointing to your site helps people find you and enforces your branding.

Website hosting – you can generally keep your current web hosting. However, if you have 1 website per language, then there are some small benefits to hosting the website locally int he target country.

Which is best – one big multilingual website or several local language websites in each country?

Individual language websites hosted locally in each country are undoubtedly the best option if you have the resources. They bring more website visits from search engines, and allow you to tailor your website and marketing to local tastes.

For smaller businesses without the resources, we recommend using one large multilingual website with sub-folders for language website. For example:

mysite.com (main website)
mysite.com/it/ (Italian website)
mysite.com/fr/ (French website)
…etc.

» How to choose the right domain and website structure

Choose the right website software

WordPress and Joomla are excellent choices for your multilingual website; Magento and Prestashop are the best opensource eCommerce options. Most major CMS cater for multi-language websites though these are harder to set up than a standard website, so seek specialist assistance with this.

Should You Hire a Web Designer & Web Developer?

It’s highly recommended to hire a professional web designer specialized in multilingual websites. Remember, first impressions count. If your site looks like it’s been created from a pre-made theme, you run the risk of looking like everyone else.

Choosing the right web designer

  • Do they have experience in multilingual websites? Check out their portfolio. (here’s our portfolio!)
  • Do they understand your market and business?
  • How about training for your site and support? If are unfamiliar with running a website, you will need training and support.
  • Check out their testimonials.
  • Don’t be afraid to ASK DEMANDING QUESTIONS – a good web designer will have the answers!

Translate your content with mother tongue translators

Lets be honest, you have a massively better chance of success if your website content is translated by a mother tongue writer with a background in SEO and knowledge of the local market.

Include some location specific posts

Don’t just rattle on monotonously about your company and products. Be interesting. Include some blog posts or a website section dedicated to country specific information/ gossip/ trends/ analysis. This will help you engage and relate to your local audience, as well as benefiting your positioning in search engines such as Google.

Optimize your website

A multi-language website needs extra attention when it comes to search engine optimization. Correct website structure, language tags, and Schema for Multiple Locations will all bring more website visits from search engines.

» 6 must-read multi-location SEO tips

Create separate social network profiles for each language

Well I did say multi-language sites can be demanding. Here is why you need separate social network accounts for each language:

  • It is hard to build up a following if you continually blog in 2 languages on the same profile. People get peeved off with foreign language posts filling their stream.
  • It allows country specific promotions.
  • You can optimize the profile name, header, address and URL for the country specific details.

Market analysis

This section is especially important for anyone looking to compete and sell their products and services abroad such as eCommerce websites.

Are your products and services competitive?

How do your prices compare to international competitors? What about the standard of service you provide? Compared to domestic competitors you are probably already have extra costs and delivery times due to shipping – so how you are going to have to go that extra mile to beat them in other ways.

Will there be a market for your products?

Just because your products sell like hot cakes at home – it doesn’t mean that you will have it your own way abroad. Different cultures, different tastes and even lack of product awareness must be considered.

Check out the competition

Well established competitors with an army of followers can be hard to displace. Is there room for you in an already crowded market place? What can you bring along that is new or different?

FAQs – multilingual websites

What is a multilingual website?

A multilingual or multi-language website is any website in two or more languages. Typically they will have similar content in each language with a language switcher to choose your preferred language.

Can’t I just use Google Translate?

No. If you are serious about creating a successful business abroad, you will need to engage and captivate your audience. For this you certainly need a creative mother tongue content writer who knows both your products and the local markets.

Can a tourism website such as a hotel get away with using Google Translate? Yes probably.

What are the main reasons a businesses needs a multi-language website?

  1. Domestically successful business aim to expand internationally with new shops, branches and offices abroad, or are simply testing the waters by offering their site in an extra language.
  2. Their country has two or more official languages – such as Switzerland and Canada.
  3. Their home market has become saturated or too competitive so they look for better growth opportunities in emerging markets.
  4. Websites targeting international audience by nature of their services – this is typical with tourism websites such as hotels.

Conclusion

There you have it – all of the important considerations to help you create a successful multi-language website.

Take time to assess the market – can you be competitive?

Once you are ready, make sure you get professional help from a team of multilingual web experts.

101 Tried and Tested Blog Post TITLES that STAND OUT

2 million new blog posts are written every day

How the heck can you stand out?

Given that the vast majority of readers enter your website from either Google or Social Networks, a catchy headline (and an intriguing image) is key to grabbing a reader’s attention.

Newspapers have been doing it for over a century – now it’s your turn to get creative! Today I want to share with you some of my favourite blog post titles.

Tips for creating “clickable” post titles

  • Be honest – your title must reflect the article. Misleading your audience is counterproductive – if people start to hit the back button and leave your page, Google will stop indexing you.
  • Specialize. The web is saturated with great blogs, so it’s hard to rank well for generic keywords. Don’t be afraid to be specific and blog about niche subjects.
  • Short catchy titles work best. Longer post titles lose their punch. Google will also truncate meta titles over 55 characters so be concise.
  • To stand out more use CAPITALS or ♥ novelty characters ♥
  • Include keywords to optimize the article
  • When finished, read it over – would you click a link with that title?

Post titles for Guides

Writing online guides to products or services is my favourite SEO tactic for generating enormous website traffic. Here are some simple, but effective blog post titles:

A Comprehensive Guide to _____
The Step-by-Step Guide to _____
The Ultimate Guide to _____
The Beginner’s Guide to _____
The Business Owner’s Guide to _____
The Advanced Guide to _____
The Complete Guide to _____
The Essential Guide to _____
The A-Z of _____
All You Need to Know About _____
Everything You Need to Know About _____
Why ____ Beats ____ Hands Down
____ Vs ____ : the Buyer’s Guide to _____
____ or ____ : the Best Choice for [person/role]?
____ or ____ : How to Choose the Right _____?

Pick you target audience!
Specify your target audience in the title to get higher quality of reader and better click through rate. Common target audiences for a blog post:
beginner’s guide, professional’s guide, advanced, housewife’s, stay-at-home dad’s, business owner’s, small business owner’s, website owner’s, eCommerce owner’s, shopper’s, blogger’s, lawyer’s, etc.

How to

I love possibility questions – they create a real positive vibe around your post. First off, the title automatically assumes that something can be achieved, and that it can be accomplished in a number of elegant or intelligent ways.

How to _____
How to _____ like a Pro
How to _____ Like a Boss
How to _____ in # Easy Steps
How To Get More _____
How to increase Sales with _____
How To Completely Change _____
How To Tell If _____
How I [achievement] in _____
How _____ Can Boost Your _____
How to _____ The Right Way
How to Choose a _____
How _____ Can Inspire Your _____
How to Get Rid Of _____
What to Do With _____
The Simplest Way to _____
The Best _____ to _____

Numbers/ lists

People are seriously attracted to numbered lists. Psychologically the concept of a finite list creates the feeling that something can be completed and achieves. People get addicted to box ticking exercises.

Useful variations!
Interchange the following nouns to vary your title:
tips, tricks, ways, hacks, tactics, questions, tasks, things, ingredients, tools, instruments, signs, signals, trends, facts, myths, mistakes, errors.

# Awesome _____
# Astonishing _____
# Inspirational _____
# Influential _____
# Surprising _____
# Thought Provoking _____
# No-Nonsense _____
# Most Popular _____ of All Time
# Must Have _____ for _____
# Ways to _____
# Lesser Known Ways to _____
# Innovative Ways to _____
# Guaranteed Ways to _____
# Proven Ways to _____
# Creative Ways to _____
# Foolproof _____ Ways to _____
# Most Effective Ways To _____
# _____ Hacks You’ve Never Heard of
The # Best _____ to _____
The # Golden Rules of _____
Remember These # Rules Before _____
The Top # of _____
# Tips for _____
# Pro Tips for _____
# Resources to _____
# _____ that will make you [verb]
# Insane _____ That Will Give You _____
# Types of _____
# Good Reasons You Need _____
# Things Your _____ Doesn’t Tell You
# Things Wikipedia Doesn’t Tell You About _____
# Things That are Wrong with Your _____
# Things to Consider Before _____
# _____ That Will Stop You in Your Tracks
# _____ That Will Make You Think
# Things that will make me _____ in 10 seconds
# Things that will make me _____ on the spot
# Things that will Blow You Away
# Things I Wish I had Known Before _____
# Things You Didn’t Know About _____
# Things You Should Never Do _____
# Things You Need To Know Before _____
# Things To Do _____
# _____ to Buy for a girl with Everything
# _____ to Buy for a _____ expert
# Manly Things To _____
# _____ We Love
# Questions You Should Ask Before _____
# Signs You Might _____
# Signs of a Great _____
# Reasons You Didn’t Get _____
# _____ that will Save you Time
# _____ that will Change your Life
# _____ Every [person/role] Should Know
# Essential Ingredients of _____
# Essential _____ Every _____ Should Know
# Essential Tips for _____
# Best _____ of [Year]
Pick of the Week – the # best _____
# Trends to look out for in [YEAR]
# Tools to Help You _____
# Amazing _____ To Try Right Now
# _____ Every _____ Should Know
# Secrets Every Serious [person/role] Should Know
# Habits of Successful [person/role]
# _____ I Learnt When _____
# Facts About _____
# Main Advantages of _____
# Most Common Mistakes _____
# Myths about _____
# Greatest _____ of All Time

Experimental – Currently Trending

These titles are popular on social networks due to high click-through rate. They are often used to mislead people, which is spam and plain annoying – so please only use these attention grabbing headlines ethically and when appropriate!

When She ____ her Reaction was Priceless
See What Happened When ____
You Wont Believe WHat Happened When ____
# epic _____ fails
The Ultimate _____ Cheat Sheet
What No One Tells You About _____
Is this the best _____
Is this the World’s Ugliest _____
_____ to Shock Your Friends
Amazing _____ Secrets You’ll Want to Tell Your Friends

Miscellaneous

How good is your _____? Take the test!
Editor’s Pick Of The Week
The _____ Reader’s Choice
_____ Best Practices
Is _____ Really _____
Why Are _____?
Are the _____?
What a _____ Really Looks Like
Where to Find _____

Hire a content writing specialist

Got writer’s block or you just don’t have time to blog?

Hiring a professional content writer will save you time writing. Contact us for high quality, SEO-otpimized content writing.

10 Good Reasons Why You Need a Multilingual Website

So you’re thinking of adding an extra language to your site? Maybe you evaluating the benefits for your business and need to put a business case to the boss.

Here are some convincing reasons why you need a multilingual website:

Why you need a multilingual website

1. You get a larger market

Suppose you add Italian and German to your website, you immediately expose your business an enormous market of about 60-80 million internet users.

2. You can tap emerging markets

Online markets such as the United Kingdom are relatively mature and even saturated in some sectors.

Competition is tough.

Eastern and even southern European markets such as Italy are still “coming online”, shoppers are only waking up now to the reality of buying online.

Targeting emerging markets, you can ride the wave of growth.

3. A second language is cost effective

Compared to opening up offices in another country, adding a second language to your website is extremely cost effective.

4. Beat your competitors

Face it – if you don’t expand, your competitors will.

Successful businesses stay one-step-ahead of their competitors. A great way to differentiate your business from competition is pipping them into international language markets.

5. You achieve economies of scale

You are already running a business, maintaining a website, producing content and marketing your company. Replicating in a second language will only require a fraction of the effort.

6. Reduce your exposure to one market

By targeting international clients your business becomes diversified, you no longer have all your eggs in one basket. Just because your home market dries up, having exposure to say French, German or Chinese markets may actually help your business grow.

7. Gain customer trust

Many European internet users can get by with an English language website. But nothing beats having the website in your native language. Customers feel more at home in their native language and this creates an added trust – an essential factor in online sales.

8. Search engines will love you

Content still is King

.

Optimizing your multilingual website for search engines such as Google, Baidu (China’s favourite) and Yandex (Russia) will increase your website visibility.

9. Clear sign of ambition

Set your stall out!

A multilingual website not only looks professional, but sends a clear sign of ambition to customers, investors and search engines.

10. You become a customer orientated business

A personal touch can make a big difference.

Serving personalized language websites to each market shows that you care.

It also allows you to market your website to regional tastes. You can tailor your texts, images and blog posts to reflect local culture.

How do we get a multilingual website?

We already have a website can we add a language?

Most modern websites software offer ways to add extra languages. Your web master may be able to do this, but it is advisable to get the services of a multilingual web expert.

We need a new multi-language website

Just starting out? You in the right place.

We’ve worked on hundreds of multi-language websites and can advise you in minutes on complicated issues such as multilingual domain names, website structure, and regional targeting.

Contact us for professional advice and a non-binding quote:

» Complete guide to running a successful multilingual website
» SEO tips for multi-locaton business

6 SEO Tips for Multiple Location Business that will Nail Your Local SEO

If you used the code in our last post on Schema for Multiple locations then your are well on the way to ranking well in each business location.

Here are my tips for multiple location business that will greatly increase website visits.

Why is it important to optimize for multiple location business?

  • Search engines like Google love location data when ranking websites.
  • People often include the local town name when searching for a service or product.
  • For many products or services, (e.g. a plumber), customers will always want a local provider.
  • It is almost impossible to compete and rank well without having local optimized location and product pages.

How to optimize your website for multiple location business

1. Organize your website structure and hierarchy to reflect your multiple location business

Your website must have a dedicated section for each area served. In the simplest scenario, your navigation menu would have a “Contact us” or a “Store locator” section with a sub menu linking to one dedicated page for each location.

For a more sophisticated and comprehensive approach, you should consider having a detailed section for each location. This would include pages for each service offered in each individual location and information specific to that location (for example a local blog or news section with links to local relevant news-worthy websites).

2. Create town/city landing pages optimized for each business address

It’s virtually impossible to rank well for each of your target markets, unless you create content that is optimized specifically for each location. As a minimum (and we have seen this technique work time and time again in less competitive business sectors), create one locally optimized page for each business location as follows:

Business name, town 1, region 1
Business name, town 2, region 2
Business name, town 3, region 3

Ideally each page will be unique to that particular branch or store and have locally optimized company information; opening hours; photos, videos or other media; social networks; staff; addresses and maps; all specific to that location. The more specific you can be about the business the better. Note that changing just the town name in the title and otherwise identical pages is not enough!

3. Get your schema.org set up correctly for multiple location

Schema Markup for multiple locations

Once you have created locally optimized content for each business location, it’s time to put the icing on the cake with multiple location Schema.

Here is some complete, ready to use Schema Markup for multiple location businesses using Organization and subOrganization markup. Make sure you incorporate this code into your website structure to benefit from enhanced business listings in search results.

» Essential Schema that every website should have.

4. Create and optimize a Google My Business page for each location

One of the most effective ways to increase your company’s visibility in each town you serve is by completing and optimizing your company profile on Google My Business. Ensure a standard naming convention for each My Business profile, such as “Company name – Town 1, Company name – Town 2, etc.

Google My Business can increase your local visibility in 4 ways:

  • Each location will be included on Google Maps
  • A My Business listing linked to your website is a major search engine ranking factor.
  • Inclusion in local listings block when a user searches for a local product or service.
  • Hugely improved branded search that will include photos, opening hours and reviews (see below)

Branded search results with photos, opening hours, NAPS and reviews

For best results, ensure you fully complete your listing for each company, list your services offered, add opening hours, upload attractive photos, and curate your customer reviews.

» The best geo-location websites where you can create a free business profile (Foursquare, Bing etc).

5. Hundreds of branches? Use a database approach to save massive amounts of time

For large national businesses with lots of branches in each town and city, it can be a good idea to resort to a database approach whereby each location has a record in a database – Excel is a good choice for this as it is widely available in every company and anyone can use it. Any good web agency will be able to hook the database up to your website so that each location has a dynamically created web page.

Using a database to dynamically create webpages will save time, help keep your multiple location data organized, and is extremely easy to update / maintain. Most people are familiar with Excel and so staff can keep the pages updated without any special training.

6. BONUS TIP!

If you are in a competitive industry you will need to cover all bases. Here are two excellent checklists:

» On Page Local SEO Checklist

» OFF Page Local SEO Checklist

Final thoughts

The key to managing multiple locations is treating each location individually, without spreading your resources too thin.

Create unique, locally optimized pages for each location

Success will depend on local competition. If competitors have local pages, you will have to go one step further to get the results you want.

Get in touch for expert advice: