7 things you need to do to your website right now

So you’ve just had a brand new website built and you’re ready for launch. It’s packed full of glossy images. Stacked full of information about your company and jacked up to the nines with widgets to let people follow you, sign up to your newsletter or even book a meeting. It’s all very exciting and you’ve led the project from start to finish. You really feel it shows off, not just your creative genius but also the values and the personality of the brand it represents. But before you hit the “launch” button, there’s a few things you should be checking to make sure your website doesn’t end up doing more damage to your brand than good. Things which you’d be amazed how many businesses fail to do.

Check for spelling and grammar errors

For every website that is spelling and grammar error free, there will be five more websites that are littered with literary mistakes and that’s bad for business. If you’re building an all singing, all dancing website, it can be easy to get caught up in the aesthetics and the functionality and forget to proof read the information your website displays. For best practice, get at least two other people to proof read the entire website before going live. If you’ve already gone live, go back and do it anyway.

Check for inaccurate or outdated information

Yes, this might be a shiny new website, but for many, the temptation to copy and paste at least a few paragraphs from the old website will be strong and why not. After all, the company has probably not changed much over the years so where’s the harm? Well, if your website contains statistics or outdated processes from a decade ago, it’s not going to look very relevant today. Similarly, expressing pride for winning an award back in 2012 isn’t going to make you look like a very forward thinking company. But what’s more important than both of these however, is if your website mentions laws or regulations that have changed. You could become liable if a visitor comes to your website for advice and then suffers because of it.

Check your links work

Links between different areas of your website are good for SEO and depending on the size and type of your website, your links could run into the tens or even hundreds. But faulty links have the opposite effect. They’re bad for SEO and bad for the customer experience so check every link works before going live. The most common link failures we come across are the social media icons, which often still link to the web developer’s social media sites or don’t go anywhere at all.

…. A further note on social media links

If you have no intention of implementing a social media strategy and will not be using your social media regularly, we would recommend not putting links to them on your website. Social Media is used by prospective clients as a validation tool to aid in the buying process. If you are not using social media, it’s better to not advertise the fact. If you have an existing website with social media links and you’re not using social media, ask your development team to remove them.

Make sure your contact information is correct

Its easily overlooked, but check the website developer hasn’t left a “filler” number in the contact information field or in the footer by mistake? If it looks like the right number, just go through it slowly. You’d be surprised how many times a couple of numbers are the wrong way around or one of the numbers is missing. What about the email address. Is that correct? Is it still in use? Have you tested it recently? It would be a shame if customers are emailing you and their message is going into an online abyss. And of course, don’t forget to test your contact forms too. Do they work? Where do they point to? Will your customer receive an automated responder once they send in a query?

Check it works equally well on a mobile

With well over half of all internet traffic taking place on a mobile device these days, if you’re website is not mobile compatible, your business will seriously miss out. It’s worth remembering that Google rates mobile friendly websites higher than non-mobile friendly sites, so even if your website is viewable but not “mobile compatible” your Google ranking will be affected. And if your web developer says your website is mobile friendly, don’t just take their work for it. It’s up to you to thoroughly test your site. Often developers will use website themes (like a template) which automatically adjusts the website for different devices, however they don’t always work as they should and you might find different parts of your website end up overlapping or become unusable.

Get third party feedback

Last but not least, ask someone who is not immediately involved in your organisation to look at your website and explain to you what you do and the value you offer. So often, the content of a website is written by someone so entrenched in the company and the industry they represent that the message they deliver is not coherent to people on the outside. Remember, your message has to explain to a potential customer, the value you deliver and why they should have an interest in your products or services. It doesn’t need to deliver a detailed historical account of your company or provide in-depth technical specifications for your offering (unless you are an e-commerce site).

So there you go. 7 simple things you can do right now to make your website that little bit better. Of course there are many more and we’d welcome your thoughts and advice, so website guru’s – we look forward to you adding your thoughts in the comments field below.

5 Business Blogging Tips for Beginners

So you’ve finally made the decision to write some regular content for your website. You don’t know where you’re going to find the time to do it and you’ve no idea what you’re going to write about but the important thing is, you’re going to do it… the only thing is, you made that decision 3 months ago and you’ve yet to publish your first piece. Sound familiar…? Then here’s some handy blogging tips to help you on your way.

Figuring out what to write about

This is the first and biggest stumbling block. There you are, allocating a couple of hours in your diary to writing your first piece – only when you come to sit down, your mind is as blank as the screen in front of you… so what should you write about?

A good idea is to make a note during the week of any great articles you read which you think might help or influence the topic of your blog post / article. Here at businesshands – we keep a notepad file in a shared location and copy and paste the URL of any good articles into it, to review when we come to writing our own.

We’ll also write down any ideas we have during the week, no matter how random so that when it comes to the time for writing – there’s plenty of material to kick start the writing process

Be consistent – diarise your writing time

The time you can dedicate to blogging will obviously depend on your resources but it’s vital to make a commitment to blog consistently – whether that be once a month or once a week. Set reoccurring appointments in your diary and honour them as you would any other business activity.

Think of the bigger picture before you start to write

One of the great bonuses of writing regular content is that it can help with your website optimisation. That means it can improve the chances of your website showing up on the first page of Google when people search for a particular search term. Your job is to think about what those search terms might be so that you can begin to include them in your posts going forward.

Think beyond the type of company you are (i.e accountant London) and think instead of the problems you solve – for example “how to fill in a tax return”. You might want to make that a blog in it’s own right or at least have the word tax return within an article a number of times.

The truth is, if you start to think about the problems that your target audience is facing – you can build a content strategy entirely around this and that means you’ll struggle less on a weekly basis to figure out a topic for your post.

Understand the overall objective

Apart from website optimisation, the main reason for producing content is to increase the number of visitors to your website, which in turn you hope will increase enquiries and drive sales. With that in mind, simply placing a blog post on your website and waiting for someone to pop along and take a look is not a good strategy – you’ll need to promote your article or blog post. This can be done through social media, pay-per-click campaigns, email marketing and a range of other products and services. The goal is to ensure as many relevant people as possible click on the link to your content and visit your website.

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking the journey is over when a person visits your website. Once they’ve read your post… what do you want them to do? Adding a call to action in the guise of a buy-it-now button, an enquiry form, a newsletter signup box or a link through to your products and service section will help to convert your visitors into leads or maybe even customers if you’ve done the job well.

TOP TIP: Don’t just post your article once through social media. We publish our articles around 15 times over the course of 3 months using slightly different titles and imagery to engage with different people.

Make your articles visually engaging

The use of quality imagery is vital to the success of your article. Web users are fickle people and short on time. Articles with images draw 94% more views than articles without.

To add further clout – make sure you choose a short catchy headline. Remember that readers are likely to share your article if they like it and a short headline means more room for them on twitter to share their comments.

Another important aspect not to overlook is the content itself. Giant columns of unbroken text don’t make for inviting reading. Make sure your article is properly formatted and split into bite-sized paragraphs.

Measure your results

This is crucial if you’re to improve the success of your articles going forward. If you think back to your objectives, the core goals were probably website optimisation, an increase in website visitors and an increase in enquiries / sales.

RankScanner is a great free tool to monitor the performance of your website for a set of key words over time. It’s important to note that website optimisation takes time so don’t expect results in days or even weeks – think long term.

To measure the popularity of your posts you can use the in-built analytics tools included in all of the major social media platforms. They will tell you how many people have looks at your post and who has liked, favourited and reposted it.

And lastly, to measure the amount of traffic that has come to your website and the behaviour of the visitors once they arrive – the best tool by far is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool and provides invaluable information about how visitors interact with your website so you can take advantage of this in future blog posts.

Finding the time to write and creating content of high enough quality are key hurdles when it comes to the success of a blog and that’s where businesshands content marketing services can help. We offer a weekly, well researched, high quality 600-word blog post for a monthly fee of just £395 and this can be combined with our popular social media management services to give your organisation a great value, professional and productive online presence.

To learn more, contact us today on 0207 458 4788 or email info@businesshands.co.uk.

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