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Improving website speed according to best practice

As a successful web development company in Australia, most of our clients ask us to design a fast loading website, because speed has become one of the most important features in small business web design. After all, no-one wants to wait 10 seconds for a web page to open and the longer your web pages take to load on a visitor’s browser, the more likely they are to click away and find a faster site.

This is why all of our websites are designed with speed very much front of mind.

What’s the benchmark?

In general, web pages need to be visible in less than 3 seconds, because research has shown that any slower than this and you lose customers. This is perhaps even more important for mobile users than for desktop users. If you have lots of visitors who come and go quickly, this can also decrease your ranking in Google.

If your website is running too slow, it’s best that you contact your local web development company in Brisbane who can diagnose the problem and speed up the loading times. There are actually a lot of steps involved in speeding up a website’s loading times however, so if you are interested, here are a few of the strategies that we use to speed up our client’s websites.

Web development strategies for site speed

Professional small business web design demands fast loading web pages. One of the quick ways to identify what is causing your web pages to load too slowly is to right click on a web page, select ‘inspect element’ and then ‘network’. This reloads the page and generates a graph of the loading times for each page element, and you can use this data to start your diagnosis.

You can also use Google Page Speed which will give you tips on increasing your site’s loading times, and Google Analytics that identifies pages that load too slowly on your website. Once you know which pages are the cause of your problems, you can work through the following tips to try and fix the problem.

  • Compress, combine and minify CSS and JS files.
  • Compress and properly format all images.
  • Leverage browser caching.
  • Reduce HTML, CSS and JavaScript file sizes.
  • Minimise and make as few HTTP requests as possible.
  • Use a CDN (content delivery network).

All of the above is pretty technical, so even though there are plugins/software out there which can handle some of it for you, you do have to know what you’re doing, otherwise you could break your website without even realising.

Small business web design in Brisbane doesn’t have to be complicated, you just need to find a web development team that can give you a quality site with fast loading pages.

Reputation management: how to deal with negative reviews

GO Creative offers professional website and SEO services to our clients in Australia, so every now and again we come across bad customer reviews on our client’s websites. When we contact the business owners, many of them want to simply ignore the bad reviews, but this isn’t the best idea for either your business or for SEO purposes.

A poor review is an opportunity to engage with your customers, acknowledge the problem and offer a solution. As a website consultant, we know that this positive engagement not only increases the trust factor of your business, but it also helps with SEO, because you are answering questions and interacting with customers on your website.

Website design and SEO can only go so far to improve your sales and profits, it is how you respond to negative reviews that can make a big difference in the long run. After all, your customers don’t have to buy from your business, and if you ignore bad reviews and the problem keeps resurfacing, you will lose customers.

Tips on managing bad online reviews

You might not think that website and SEO services would include responding to bad reviews, and to be honest, they don’t. We simply monitor our client’s websites and contact our clients when it is needful, and a bad review is one of those instances.

As a website consultant, it is important for us to reinforce to our clients that when they respond to poor reviews online, everyone is watching. This means that you should be professional and caring, rather than confrontational and argumentative. Don’t take it personally and always focus on finding a solution for the customer’s complaint.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, the customer simply isn’t happy and wants a refund or a replacement. It is your job to resolve the problem to the customer’s benefit, otherwise you risk losing other potential customers who feel that you didn’t deal with that customer well and it might happen to them as well.

GO Creative is an Australian web design company that offers both website and SEO services to our clients. Call us on 07 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online.

Tips on writing website content for small businesses

At GO Creative, we realise that there is no point in having a perfectly designed WordPress website, if the content is below par. The problem is that not everyone likes writing web content and it is also fair to say that writing content for a website is different to writing hardcopy advertisements, brochures and catalogues.

In general, people who land on a website have completely different expectations, when compared to the same expectations if they were reading a newspaper or a book.

People today want information at their fingertips, they are busy and don’t have the time to read pages and of content, not when they are looking for products or services. This means that writing copy for your WordPress website involves a certain skill set.

Write short simple sentences and paragraphs

You don’t want to write long, complicated sentences that go over two or more lines. People lose track of what you are trying to convey when they have to deal with very long sentences. The same principle applies to paragraphs, keep them short and include just 2 or 3 sentences in each paragraph.

Include headings and sub-headings in your content

When online, people tend to skin down a page, reading the headings and sub-headings to garner a quick overview of the content. If they are still interested, they will then read more of the content. So if you they are faced with a long page of uninterrupted text, visitors are likely to click out and go to another site that is easier to skim.

Avoid complicated jargon

Keep your writing simple and don’t use industry jargon that your target audience are unlikely to understand. Make sure that you don’t waffle on endlessly, do come to point quickly and only include information that is important to your viewer. You can always add a link to another page if they want more information.

Here are a few more quick tips for writing on the web:

  • Include images on your page to add interest and engage your audience.
  • Use active not passive voice.
  • Write concisely and simply.
  • Avoid small or elaborate fonts.
  • Ensure the placement of text and images is optimised for engagement.

For more information on WordPress website design, call us for a chat at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

 

Lots of traffic but few enquiries… try conversion optimisation

Many of our clients come to us because they have lots of traffic on their website, but they are not getting the number of enquiries they need. In this scenario, it’s likely the website itself that isn’t doing its job, so you need to focus on conversion optimisation.

What is conversion optimisation?

Conversion optimisation is a strategy that helps to convert a higher percentage of your existing traffic. Depending on your business, these conversions can be subscriptions, donations, sales, memberships, phone calls or visits to your physical store.

In other words, instead of focusing on traffic generation, content optimisation focuses on traffic monetisation and increasing the conversion rate of your existing visitors. Smart marketers are realising that content optimisation helps to significantly increase your ROI.

Essentially, with conversion optimisation we want to enhance your customer’s online experience, so that they want to convert. To do this we use your website’s analytics to analyse your current conversion rates, focusing on specific elements of your website.

These elements include the actual design of your website, your navigation system, content, ads and call to actions. We need to know if we change any of these elements, is there a corresponding change in your conversions?

Placement, colour and text are all essential elements on your website that can have a significant impact on your conversions, so we create multiple versions of your web pages, testing each one to determine which version results in the highest conversions.

4 benefits of conversion optimisation

  1. Save money: You are not spending money generating more traffic, but leveraging your existing traffic, so you lower your customer acquisition costs, saving you money in the long term.
  2. Increased customer experience: Customising your website for conversions, increases customer engagement, loyalty and retainment, so they are more likely to return and purchase again in the future.
  3. Gain a competitive edge: Content optimisation will give you a competitive edge because your competitors are unlikely to be using this technique.
  4. Increased brand awareness: The results of content optimisation mean that your website is customised to suit your customer’s needs, which enhances their online experience, increases their loyalty and promotes greater brand awareness in the community.

For more information on conversion optimisation for your website, call GO Creative on 07 3333 2932 or complete our online enquiry form.

How much time and money can a website save you?

I’ve lost count of the number of businesses who have told me that they don’t need a website, or already have enough work. But a website isn’t only about increasing sales — it can also save you lots of time and money.

Let’s say your website is a fairly simple, brochure-style site which says a little about what you do and how to get in touch. Are customers frequently asking you for your business details or contact information? Are they asking you exactly what you do? Well, you can point them towards the appropriate pages of your website.

What about if your business has fixed appointment times. Instead of spending time on the phone and going back and forth with customers to book an appointment, would it save you time if they could simply book online?

And what about collecting customer information for your database or mailing list? If you could get the customer to type out all of their information for you, I bet that’d save you a lot of time as well.

It all adds up

Let’s look at some rough numbers. Say you save just 15 minutes per day by being able to refer customers to your website instead of going through it on the phone or face to face. And now let’s say you have five staff doing the same thing. That’s 15 minutes X 5 staff X 5 days per week x 45 weeks a year. That’s a whopping 280 hours a year that could be spent on improving your business!

Not only is that saving a huge amount of time, but if your staff are averaging $35 per hour, you’ve also saved yourself nearly $10,000! And if they’re averaging $100 per hour, that’s $28,000!

If you’re happy to toss away that time and money, good luck to you. Otherwise, an investment in a website, even in its most basic form, can really present a lot of major benefits to your business.

If you have a website, is it up to date, mobile-friendly, and easy to manage? And if you don’t have a website, what are you waiting for?

We’d be more than happy to take a look at your website or marketing strategy and recommend a course of action for your business. You’d be surprised just how easily the website pays for itself and increases the profitability of your business. Phone us on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote for more information.

Grant O’Neill
Director, GO Creative

Have you run out of puff writing your blog?

Many of you will know that blogs increase engagement with customers and bring more visitors to your website, but sometimes keeping up with a blog writing schedule is difficult. So here are three easy ways you can encourage visitor engagement with your blog posts, without really writing a lot more content – and keep both the search engines and your visitors happy.

1. Take another look at your published blogs

If you have run out of ideas for you blog, an easy fix is to take another look at your published posts. So go through your archives and look for “list” type posts. For example:

  • The top 10…
  • The best 5…
  • 7 easy ways to…
  • A guide to…

You can rewrite these for the current year or narrow the topic down. For example, if you have “The Top 10 Holiday Spots in Australia”, write another post for singles, families, or adventure seekers, etc. You can use your published posts as fodder for writing new posts, which will give your brain a rest and most probably give you a lot more ides for new posts as well.

2. Think about using different media

Why not pick out some of your favourite posts and turn them into something else? This means that a “How-To” post could be turned into a video, which you can upload to your YouTube channel and embed into a new blog as well.

If you have a Facebook page, you could write a small post on the same topic with a link to your YouTube channel, create a Tweet or even an infographic based on the best points in your blog post.

3. Encourage visitors to read more posts on your website

Another way to increase visitor engagement on your website and to utilise old posts is to recommend other posts relevant to the post your visitor is currently reading. This is a great way to drive traffic to particular pages on your website without writing more posts about the subject.

If you want more information on social media marketing or website design, call us for a chat on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

4 essential tips on mobile marketing for your business

As a business owner you already know that mobile usage has skyrocketed over the past few years, but did you know that by 2016 more than 2 billion people worldwide will own a smartphone?

How popular are mobile online purchases?

If we just look at Australia on its own, in 2014 there were more than 20 million mobile accounts with nearly 1 in 3 Aussies having no land line – they only used a mobile phone. On top of these statistics, more than 20% of adult Aussies didn’t have a fixed internet connection in 2014.

These are the consumers who only access the internet via their mobile devices and even more importantly – smartphones are the driver for the continual increase in online retail sales.

As you can see, the mobile market is wide open, but the problem is that most businesses don’t have an effective mobile marketing plan. Instead they just lump mobile marketing in with online marketing and in the process, lose out on a massive retail market.

Here are 4 tips to help you create a successful mobile marketing strategy:

  1. Do you have a mobile website? Some businesses opt for a responsive design and others prefer a dedicated mobile website. Whichever strategy you chose, make sure that it does truly render correctly on mobile phones.
  2. Redesign your advertising campaigns: You need to review your current advertising and make sure that everything fits on the mobile screen. Just because you have a responsive design or a mobile website doesn’t mean that your headers, call to actions and pop-ups will display correctly.
  3. Optimise your email campaigns: Think about the small size of a smartphone and how your advertising emails will be seen. You really need short punchy subject lines and titles that are easily viewed quickly, whilst on the run.
  4. Create a strong social media presence: With just about everyone having a social media account and accessing their networks on their mobile devices, it is only sensible to advertise directly to consumers on social media sites.

If you need help with mobile website designs or social media marketing, call us for a chat at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Does your business really need a blog?

With all the advantages of social media networking, some of our clients have questioned whether they still need a blog. After all, a blog takes time and effort to maintain, and isn’t that better spent building their social media networks?

So I thought I would take this opportunity to list 7 benefits of maintaining an active business blog, while also growing your social media channels.

  1. Branding awareness: A blog helps you to showcase your brand in your own way, without the design and layout restrictions inherent in other social media platforms.
  2. Customer engagement: You can share product updates, answer customer queries and share stories about your brand on your blog. This interaction is an easy way to increase cunsumer awareness and engagement with your brand.
  3. Blogs are great for time-poor people: It doesn’t take long to write one or two blog posts each week and respond to customer comments. Your blog is a great platform from which to promote your business and an hour or two each week is not that time consuming.
  4. Free advertising: If you write and maintain your own business blog then you have free advertising for your brand. As you build your email list, you will have more and more targeted customers who will read your blog and share your content with their friends.
  5. Increased customer insight: If you use your web analytics, it’s easy to track visitors and identify which posts visitors find most engaging, their gender, age and their geographic location.
  6. Increased exposure on social media: Blog posts, images and infographics are all very sharable across social networks, leading to increased exposure on multiple social media platforms.
  7. Improve rankings on the serps: As you successfully engage your visitors and they share your content across their social media networks, you will find that your rankings, traffic and conversions all increase.

As you can see, an active blog that contains interesting and educational information, provides your business with the opportunity to fully engage with your customers, resulting in happy customers and higher rankings.

For more information about marketing your business or website design in Brisbane, call GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Startups and the changing face of technology

Many of our clients are startups and need a website to promote their products or services online. Apart from the usual problems facing any new venture, our new clients also have to deal with the rapidly changing face of technology as well.

Smart technology

Most small businesses are not in a position to take advantage of smart technology just yet. A good example is the technological leap from smart phones and tablets to smart wristwatches, allowing employees to receive emails on their watch.

If you want to be in the frontline of technology then it might be worth your while keeping up with smart technology. Alternately, you might just decide to save your money and wait a little longer to decide whether the latest gizmo is here to stay or is just another fly by night.

Cloud computing, big data and security

Without a doubt, the startup costs of a business heavily invested in cloud computing will be much lower than for traditional startups. However, with so many cloud based service providers jumping on the band wagon, the challenge is not only with understanding the technology and keeping up to date, but in selecting the best provider, as well as customising your cloud apps and services on an ongoing basis.

Even more of a problem is the issue of security and the protection of company data and resources from hackers. So with cloud technology, educating employees about online security will be essential to protecting the integrity of both company and customer information.

Then there is the issue of big data, which can be handled quite easily with the massive resources of the cloud. Accessing personnel who can handle this type of data however, may become a challenge all of its own.

Customised user experiences

Lastly, as technology continues to advance, customers’ expectations also increase and businesses face the challenge of creating consistent user experiences, across multiple platforms and channels. This means businesses need to be focused on social media networking and on creating unique interactions for customers, who want to access information at the touch of a button.

For more information on website promotion, online marketing or website design in Brisbane, call GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Mythbuster Monday: We don’t need a mobile website

As far as myths go, this one is currently the most deadly to your bottom line. This is because more than 50% of all online traffic now originates from mobile devices. If you add in the fact that this percentage is continually growing, as more and more consumers use their mobile devices to search online, then it is obvious that mobile consumers are crucial for your business.

A mobile friendly website is just common sense

Another little gem is that ecommerce sites are really starting to lose out on conversions, because the checkout process is too far too unfriendly and cumbersome on mobile phones. The situation isn’t too bad when you look at the figures for tablets (because the screens are larger), but when you look at the conversion rates for mobile phones, they are half of those for tablets.

This clearly suggests that ecommerce sites that are not optimised for mobile phones will lose out on 50% of their conversions. However, just because you don’t have an ecommerce site does not mean that you don’t need to optimise it for mobile users.

Currently, around 20% of all online sales take place using a mobile device and this will undoubtedly continue to increase. So if your website is turning mobile users away – you stand to lose a large chunk of change, both now and in the future.

Don’t forget that Google is now giving preferential treatment to mobile friendly websites in the search engine results pages – another nail in the coffin for mobile-unfriendly websites.

What are your options?

To be honest, you don’t have any options, except to decide whether you want a dedicated mobile website or a responsive design. That’s it – the facts are out and the chips are down. If you want to retain your rankings in the search engines and you want to, at the least, retain your conversions, then you need a mobile optimised website.

If your competitors already have a mobile optimised website, they are already ahead of the game and if they don’t have one, then you need to stay ahead of the pack yourself.

For more information on making your website mobile friendly or with website design in Brisbane, call us at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Is Pinterest right for your business?

Pinterest has only been around for a few years, since 2010 in fact, but already it is a large part of people’s social media campaigns. Lately, some of our clients have asked us about Pinterest and whether they should include this platform in their campaigns.

So we thought it might be a good idea to take a look at the types of businesses that can profit from including Pinterest in their social media campaigns.

Businesses that best suit Pinterest

With more than 13 million unique users on Pinterest, this is definitely a platform worth considering for your business.

  • Research has shown that 80% of Pinterest users are female and that regardless of gender, pinners are more than 5 times as likely to use their smartphone to pin images than with any other device.
  • What this means is that if your target audience is mostly female then Pinterest might be a great platform for you, however with 20% of users being male, if you target men – 20% of 13 million users is not an audience to be ignored.
  • The lynchpin is that Pinterest is all about images, so you must have images that can be pinned to image boards and shared on Pinterest. So this platform is heavily used by beauty and fitness niches, home and garden niches, food and drink niches, as well being very popular for its shopping content.
  • If you are in any of these businesses, then it might be worthwhile leveraging this platform to promote your products. Social media is all about sharing content online and since this is the focus of Pinterest, if your business uses rich content images, then this might be a match made in heaven.
  • When you compare Pinterest to other social media channels, you find that Pinterest users are more likely to purchase products from their most shared categories. This means that the more often your Pinterest images are shared, the greater your sales.
  • For example, in the Face and Body care category on Pinterest, people who repin these images are 33% more likely to convert to buyers, than other social users. Pinterest doesn’t even have any direct path to making a purchase, so far there are no ‘buy now’ buttons on Pinterest. So these conversions are highly engaged and motivated users.

Since this is a fairly new platform, it is easy to image how any new Pinterest services, such as adding ‘buy now’ buttons in the future, may make this one of the fasted growing and best converting social media platforms for a whole host of businesses.

For more information on social media marketing or website design in Brisbane, call GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Let’s get realistic about social media

Just last week, one of our clients asked me what the return on investment (ROI) on social media marketing was. My answer was not straightforward but in the end, I think I got my point across.

The problem is that with social media there is no clear-cut ROI on your investment. For example, if you have 500,000 Facebook Likes, what does that mean? How does that convert into dollars and cents?

I thought it timely to take a look at what you can expect from your social media campaigns over a 12 month period and hopefully help you gain some insight into how social media can work for your business.

3 months

After three months of actively blogging, tweeting and posting you can expect an increased brand awareness with people starting to Like your posts or tweets. Also, customer queries will be asked over your social media channels and by responding promptly, you begin to build a positive reputation for your brand.

6 months

At six months, you should notice a further increase in your Likes and more comments and sharing of your content. You might also start coming to the attention of online marketers or bloggers at this time.

12 months

This is when you should see a good result in brand awareness. You may even have found a completely new market for your services or products, and brand advocates appear and start to share their stories as well as promote your brand. With 12 months of feedback and customer contact under your belt, you are now able to make more refined and targeted marketing decisions, to further increase the market share of your business.

3 months 6 months 12 months
Brand awareness Expect that brand awareness will slowly increase and include current customers and people who already know you or your brand (family, friends, colleagues etc.) You have attracted a new audience who hadn’t previously heard about your brand
Customer engagement People will start Liking your posts Likes, comments and shares will increase Supporters emerge and help spread testimonials
Customer service Customer service issues will be shared, so respond quickly and deal with problems promptly A better understanding of customer concerns helps focus your marketing
Reputation Listen to the market and share positive brand stories with your audience Use brand feedback to hone your marketing campaigns
PR potential Current audience will offer the most PR potential Online media outlets and marketers start showing interest Mainstream media and authority sites become interested

The take home message is that social media marketing works, but whilst its ROI is not easily measured, you will see a real benefit in around 12 months.

For more information on social media, search engine marketing or website design in Brisbane, call GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.