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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.

Pros and cons of displaying social media feeds on your website

In Australia, we have noticed that despite giving our clients super-fast websites, after a while many of them become quite slow to load. Since our clients come to us because we are not only experienced in WordPress web development, but we are also a leading web design company in Australia, we decided that it was our duty to investigate this phenomenon. What we found however, might surprise many of our clients, because the main culprit is social media feeds.

Social media feeds contain content that is fed in via hyperlink from another site, such as Facebook, where the posts on these sites are replicated on our client’s sites. Even though our WordPress web development services include the provision for social media networking, we don’t automatically add in these feeds during the design process.

Pros of using embedded social media feeds

Any good website design firm will tell you of the benefits of using social media networking to increase your rankings. You can use social media feeds to show the search engines that you are constantly updating your website (great for increased rankings) and that you are a good source of useful information. This also encourages followers, because they can follow your social media pages directly from the embedded feed and you don’t need to replicate the same content on your website (saving you time).

Cons of using embedded social media feeds

On the other hand, the extra scripts from these third party sites really slows your site down and you can’t compress them or alter them in any way to make your site faster. More importantly, the design of these feeds might not fit in with your branding, and they can not only distract visitors from your call to actions, but stop them from visiting your other pages, because they simply read your social media feeds instead.

When you pay good money for professional WordPress web development, it doesn’t make sense to slow your site down with social media feeds to the detriment of your business.

If you need a new professional website built for your company, call GO Creative – the leading web design company in Australia – on 07 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online.

How your internet marketing company can help you build loyalty on Facebook

Most businesses understand the power of social media, and created social media pages to promote their brand and engage with their customers. As a long established internet marketing company, we’ve worked on hundreds of Facebook pages and have seen first-hand the benefits. The issue however, is in the expectations held by business owners.

Some business owners mistakenly believe that creating a Facebook page will instantly increase the traffic to their websites, bringing them new customers, sales and profits in a blink of an eye. If this is the result you want, then you would be better off with Google AdWords, display ads or even Facebook ads, rather than a Facebook page.

A corporate Facebook page is a long term commitment

It’s important to understand that it’s very unlikely that you’ll see an immediate uptick in sales with a Facebook page. This is a long term investment that generally takes at least 1 to 2 years to see solid results emerge. Even then, measuring the exact return on investment is difficult to do.

What you want is for people to ‘like’ your Facebook page and posts, and to eventually convert into paying customers. At our digital marketing agency in Brisbane, we specialise in setting up this type of sales funnel, but result take time. The final conversion into a customer usually depends on people seeing your brand time and time again, building up trust in your company over that 1 to 2 year period we mentioned.

So the best strategy is to post information on your Facebook page that adds value to your ‘followers’. When you offer free information that is not only useful, but at times both humorous and engaging, people respond by interacting with your page and by sharing your posts.

This spreads your message across their social networks and more people start to see posts from your Facebook page. Over time, the authority of your brand is increased and people start to check out your website and convert into paying customers.

Designing a Facebook page takes a certain amount of skill, particularly when it is a corporate Facebook page, which is where a digital marketing agency can be invaluable. This is because you need to make sure that your Facebook presence reflects your brand and is not just professional, but is also updated regularly.

If your business is ready to start generating new business from its Facebook page, talk to an internet marketing company that can give you a professional design and ongoing support. Call GO Creative on 07 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online.

How to improve the customer experience on your website

What’s the #1 reason why customers choose not to buy from your business or convert into repeat customers? A poor customer experience.

This is why it is so important to perform a comprehensive User Experience Audit of your website, so that you can rectify any problems immediately.

At our agency in Brisbane, our website developers are focused on developing websites which are user friendly and easy to navigate, allowing visitors to find everything they need to know about your services or products. There is, however, much more to making your website user friendly than a simple menu. There are many factors to consider, including the wording you use on each page, the layout of the pages, the speed, the images and videos that appear, and more.

All it takes is just one of these elements to be wrong and you can reduce your visitor’s experience sufficiently that they turn to your competitor’s website instead. You need to ensure your customers’ experience using your website is exemplary. And you can do so by undertaking a User Experience Audit.

What can a User Experience Audit identify?

Making your website easy to use and navigate is one way to increase your conversions, a fact that is well known to many businesses. Brisbane web development agencies employed by these businesses therefore have a directive to do just that, as well as optimising your website for faster loading speeds, and improved ranking in Google. As time passes and you upload more content, your site can become progressively more complicated to use, so all of this needs to be taken into account.

A User Experience Audit will identify any areas where your visitors are becoming lost or confused on your website. This includes pages where conversions are lowest or where there are weakness in your sales funnel, as well as any specific pages or elements that are stopping your visitors from converting.

Which areas of your website should you audit?

For a comprehensive audit, you need to check the following areas of your website:

  • All of your written content.
  • All of your call to actions (CTAs).
  • All of your photos, images and videos.
  • What is displayed above the fold (i.e. what you can see before scrolling).
  • Whether your website is responsive (i.e. works properly on phones and tablets).
  • Whether your content is set up for the best possible ranking in Google.
  • Whether your pages load quickly.
  • Whether there are any broken links, or links which lead to inappropriate pages.

GO Creative is a leading web design company in Brisbane, offering a number of services, including website audits. So if you want to provide your visitors with a positive experience on your website and increase your conversions, you get an instant quote online today or call us on 07 3333 2932.

Three reasons to keep your website updated

As a web development company, we know that when you run a business, you don’t always have the time to keep on top of everything and website maintenance is quite often at the bottom of your list. Whilst letting this slide for a short while might not be a problem, if left for too long it can be a catastrophe.

Let’s take a look at three of the worst problems you can face, if you don’t actively keep your website updated:

1. Your website can be hacked

There are two easy ways for hackers to gain access to your website: through your Content Management System (CMS) — such as WordPress or Joomla — and via third party components such as plugins. This is why you need to keep your CMS updated at all times, however if you don’t use a CMS but have a coded website then you will need a developer to keep your background code updated and resistant to hackers.

Updates for plugins and other third party components are regularly released, sometimes because of added features, but mainly to counter hacking. As you can see, if you don’t keep your website and your plugins updated, you can seriously jeopardise the security of your website. Your web development company should be able to update your CMS or coding to prevent hackers getting in through the back door of your site.

2. You can lose customers

If you collect customer’s information, such as their names, addresses and emails, then protecting your site against infiltrators is vital to keeping your customer’s data secure. There is no quicker way to lose customers than for their personal information to be hacked via your website. This is usually a result of poor maintenance and not installing a security plugin that adds another layer of security to your website.

As you can imagine, customers won’t be happy if their data is compromised and if you also accept payments on your website, then security is a top priority. Letting your onsite security slide is a guaranteed way to lose customers and revenue.

3. Your search engine rankings can drop

Google regularly quarantines thousands of websites each day because they have been hacked. While fixing a hacked website can be a nightmare in itself, trying to convince Google that your website has been fixed can be even worse. Many business owners have to simply start again with another domain name and website, because they couldn’t rank their existing website after it was compromised.

Losing your rankings in the search engines can completely devastate your business leads, and if it is simply because you didn’t maintain your website, then it will be a lesson well learned. Your local web development company should offer you a service that protects your website and prevents it from being hacked.

Here at GO Creative we provide a monthly service that completely updates your website, keeping it safe and secure from hackers. For more information on our monthly website maintenance services, call us on 07 3333 2932, or receive an instant online quote.

The easy way to request reviews on Google Business

Updated November 2017

As we all know, customer testimonials and reviews are one of the best ways to increase online sales and profits. The problem is that it is not always easy for customers to leave a review online and because of this, most of them don’t even bother. What we want is an easy and quick way for customers to click on a link and leave a review of your business, products or services online.

You will be happy to know there is a very easy solution, which will take you just a matter of minutes. Simply follow the steps below and in the time it takes to read this blog post, you will have your very own Google Review Link that you can use on your website and other marketing materials.

Find your Google Business link

  1. Open a text editing program such as Notepad or Word.
  2. Copy and paste this into it: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=
  3. Go to the Google review link generator.
  4. Enter your business name and select it from the list. If you don’t have a Google Business page and need help setting one up, ask us for a quote.
  5. Copy the “PlaceID” shown over the map (the long series of characters). For example, our PlaceID is “ChIJN_7xQqBckWsRBC1VC0YlpE4“.

Save the link for future reference

  1. Paste the PlaceID into your text editor program, directly at the end of the end. For us, we end up with: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJN_7xQqBckWsRBC1VC0YlpE4
  2. If you want to use a shorter link format, you can go to https://bitly.com, paste in your full link, then copy the shortened link provided.
  3. Save the file on your computer, so that you always it when needed.

Use the link

  1. Send the link(s) to your best clients and ask them to leave a positive review by simply clicking the link!
  2. Don’t forget to include the link on your website as well.

For more information, read more on Google’s support pages.

If you need help with website design, online marketing or website support for your business, call GO Creative on 07 3333 2932 or complete our instant quote form.

Create and measure the success of your business goals with Google Analytics

At GO Creative, we see lots of clients who have goals for their business, but not so many for their website. The problem is that your website is either an extension of your physical business or is your entire business (in the case of online marketers) and without clear cut goals, you have no idea how well your website is actually performing.

The easy way to solve this problem is to add Google Analytics to your website. This is a free program that gives you a simple strategy to set goals for your website, to measure your website’s performance towards achieving these goals, and to do all of this based on up-to-date data.

How to use Google Analytics to create goals for your business

First of all you need to add the Google Analytics’ tracking code to your website, which is fairly simple to do and is explained by Google support here.

With Google Analytics you can keep track of the average time a visitor spends on your website, the number of pages they viewed while they were on your website, the average bounce rate, as well as the percentages of new and returning visitors and where they originated (via organic searches or by typing in your URL, referrals from other websites or social media).

You can also find out how many people accessed your website from a PC, tablet or mobile phone. There are also lots of different demographics available to you, all of which can be used to set realistic goals for your business.

How to use Google Analytics to measure your success

All of this information is great, but it also helps if you can track your changes over time, so you can determine if your new content, advertisements, call-to-actions or promotions are being effective. To this end, Google Analytics has a range of reports available to you, which are automatically created at the click of a button.

Don’t forget that all of this information is free and with a little time and effort you can be creating and measuring new promotional campaigns, and increasing your traffic, sales and conversions.

If you want help with marketing your business, call us on 07 3333 2932 or complete our online enquiry form and we will have you up and running in no time at all.

A short primer on SEO for small business owners

Even if you receive most of your website traffic and sales from paid advertising, there is no rational reason why you should ignore free traffic from search engines. To take advantage of this free traffic however, you need to come up to speed on search engine optimisation (SEO).

Here is a short primer on SEO for business owners, so you can start taking advantage of free traffic on your website.

Why is SEO important to my business?

SEO is a strategy where you optimise your website for search engines. This can be Google, Yahoo or Bing, for example, but since the biggest search engine is Google, this is usually where you’ll want to focus your time and efforts.

When someone types a search term into Google (such as “plumbers in Brisbane”), it goes off to find the websites that are the most relevant. Google ranks these websites on the search engine results pages in order of relevance, along with how recent the information is, how popular the website is, site loading speed, and countless other factors. SEO is the best way to make your website’s pages appear higher in the results.

What exactly is SEO?

SEO is comprised of a number of strategies all meant to optimise your web pages for search engines. This includes “on-page” and “off-page” SEO, both of which Google looks at when it decides whether or not your website is legitimate and relevant to the search terms entered.

On-page SEO refers to the different elements of your web pages that affect your rankings in the serps, such as speed, ease of use, accessibility, standards-compliant coding, and more. Off-page SEO focuses on promoting the content of your website throughout the internet, such as by adding your site to business listings, review sites, forums, blogs, and so on.

SEO is a very detailed and time-consuming process, so it’s not something the average business owner would want to handle directly. An SEO specialist is well and truly the way to go, unless you have abundant amounts of free time.

How do I get started?

The best place to start is with your on-page SEO and making sure that your content is optimised for both search engines and for your visitors. So this includes doing some keyword research, then sprinkling these keywords throughout your website content, adding informative videos, writing a blog, and including interesting images as well.

There is so much more to SEO, so if you want to increase your chance of being found on page 1 of Google, call us for a chat at GO Creative on (07) 3333 2932 or request a free quote online.

Mythbuster Monday: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it

When it comes to the subject of marketing, a lot of people believe that if it’s still working, then leave it alone. I am not quite sure why they believe this myth, unless it is because it leaves them free to focus on other areas of their business.

Marketing however, is the lifeblood of a business and if you don’t optimise your marketing campaigns, you could be leaving easy money on the table. By optimising, I mean that you are sticking with what seems to be working and not exploring other options which might work even better.

Optimising your marketing campaigns means exploring your options

Take for example, a business that invests heavily in hard copy ads in the Yellow Pages. For a long time we have jammed doors open with these behemoths, but no longer are they as popular with consumers as they once were.

Have you seen how small the Yellow Pages are now? The sad part about it is that they usually go straight into the recycle bin, because who turns to the Yellow Pages when they want to search for a local business?

Just about everyone searches online nowadays, so if you are still investing in hard copy print ads in the yellow pages, it might be time to take some of your allocated marketing budget and explore other options.

Even if you are still receiving leads and sales form the Yellow pages, you might get more bang for your buck through online advertising. You don’t have to change everything overnight, just take a small part of your marketing budget and move it to online advertising, such as Google ads or Facebook ads, for example.

We’ve seen the results first hand

Recently we met with a client who was spending about $5000 per month with Yellow Pages, across a variety of printed ads, online listings and a website service. Cutting their budget in half, we were able to develop a new website and more than double their enquiries within three months.

Marketing is now, more than ever, about being flexible, exploring new avenues of promoting your business and in testing what works and what doesn’t work. The myth – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it -will hold your business back from exploring more lucrative marketing options and give your competitors all the help they need in overtaking your brand.

For more information on marketing for your business 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.