It is one thing to have a website but it is another trying to get up on the search engines above your competitors. Competition depends very much on locations you are targeting and the phrases you wish to rank highly for. The more generic the phrase and the wider the location band in which you wish to target the more competition there will be. This inevitably means that you will need to invest more time and more in to your marketing to try and compete.
Ideally if you only have a small budget, you need to be realistic and initially target keywords and phrases that are less competitive. This will allow you to combat a few phrases and hopefully draw in some business before going for the competitive phrases.
Keyword research is vital before starting marketing as you not only need to know how competitive they are but also the search volume of traffic as there is no point targeting phrases that are easy to win but no one is searching for them.
As a web developer, there will come a time when you come across an issue with a website. It may be on an existing site or a new one in development. Often these bugs relate to the way information or images are displayed or the functionality that should be attached to them. For example it may be that you have a list of images that should be scrolling, but instead of scrolling they are all displaying side by side. With any bug, do not assume anything. It is often better to go back to basics and check that all the basic information is correct. You may also want to replicate the error on a test site so you can work on the bug offline without affecting the usability and look of the live site.
If you are struggling with finding out where an issue is then I would recommend leaving it for a fe hours or a day (if you have the time) and coming back to it. Often when we have been working on something for a long time we are too close to the project and need to take a step back.
Designing a website takes skill and experience. You need to know what works and what should be placed where in order to make it attractive to the viewer as well as functioning correctly.
Call to action banners may look similar to adverts and are a way of guiding your customer through the website. They are designed to make the viewer take immediate action such as “call now” or “click here”. A website or advert without a call to action is not complete and will probably not be effective.
Adding a “buy now” call to action is often done on websites, but if you do not offer a sample or free trial this can increase your bounce rate by up to 85%! Even the shape of the call to action button can have an effect on how successful it is. Rounded corners can be more enticing and make a banner more likely to be clicked on that a rectangle one that has sharp edges. There is a lot of psychology behind call to actions and website design as a whole.
With every website you should always consider what the customer wants. IT may be that your site is purely there to give information, if so you need to make sure that the information given is up to date, easy to read and also easy to find (not hidden within many pages on the site.) If your website is an ecommerce one and allows you to sell products and services, then you should ensure that the check out process is as easy as possible. You may wish to build a login area to allow customers to place an order to an existing address, track the order and possibly even amend the order within a certain time frame. Websites that also allow people to check out without creating a full account work well, as some people just want to place a quick order without creating an account with you at this time.
Social Media Giants, Facebook’s new Save Button for the web businesses can now copy and paste simple code into their articles and allow those articles to be saved to Facebook for the user to read later. Now users can read all their favorite articles in one place in an environment over 1 billion people are already familiar with: Facebook. To add to that, Facebook launched Instant Articles, allowing publishers all over the web to format their articles for users to read right inside Facebook. Users in essence never have to leave Facebook to read your blog. Get them to like your page, perhaps mark it as “See First” or a favorite or add it to a list, and now when they see your articles in their feed they can click on the articles and click the “Save” button to save it for reading later. We guess it’s rest in peace to the RSS feed!
Once you have a website established it is easy to get complacent and let years go by without changing anything on it. The risk with this is not only may you fall down the search engine result listings but also losing customers by not offering the most up to date information.
If your competitors, say for example in a printing company, are allowing their customers to upload PDF or Jpeg images and order a print online and you are not currently offering this service then you may lose business to them.
Often you will need to invest on a monthly or annual basis to allow addition of functionality to the site, but if done correctly and invested in the right way you can easily make the money back and more.
If you are going to be making big chances that will be advantageous to your customers, then don’t forget to market it in as many places as possible.
Google Analytics is a great free statistics package that allows you to see information about the visitors to your website. It can be very useful in finding out if your marketing is working and where is best to invest your time and money. Not only does it show you the number of visitors but it can also show you how they came to your site e.g through Google organic searches, Adwords etc.
You do have to be careful though taking everything at face value as sometimes the data can become skewed. There are many sites that will show as referral visits to your site increasing the traffic to your website (often quite substantially). With further investigation these sites are often not referring real traffic to yours and are actually what’s known as spam referrals. Spam referrals can make your web stats have a sudden unexplained spike in traffic which often comes with an extremely high bounce rate. To be able to find out your accurate statistics you need to be able to remove these spam referrals by creating a custom report.