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Posted by on in Website Design
Visual Storytelling in Web Design

Every brand has a story, but how are you telling your story online? Visual storytelling in web design is a growing trend so we are going to dive a little further into techniques that make for good interaction with your storytelling and design. Like we want to see the moral of the story at the end of a book, we expect to see the purpose or goal behind the storytelling on the website at the end.

There are a number of techniques for a better interaction design in storytelling, which we will look at a bit further on in our blog.

Storytelling is literally to tell a story. Where once, it was more confined to fairy-tales and novels, storytelling has now become a great feature for communicating your needs, especially online with many international brands using it on their websites to attract and create an emotional link with their visitors.
You don't just tell the story of your brand, your products or services; you want to share your experiences and your journey with your audience and even go as far as making them a part of your story. The main point is to capture their attention and provoke their emotions.

AUTHENTICITY is the key word for a perfect storytelling strategy on your website.

It is a powerful approach that when done right, can compel your visitors to convert more effectively on your website than what any amount of SEO, visual callouts, or amazing interactive elements can do. I am an advocate of SEO and a good SEO plan will direct people to your site, but once they are there a great story can begin the journey of turning them into loyal customers of your brand.

Check out some techniques you can use to tell your story on your website:

1. Introduce visitors to your story

When the path of your story is laid out clearly in front of your visitor's eyes, the rest of the work simply lies in convincing them that the purpose of your story is really worth grabbing a hold of, which is great for you as the storyteller, because your visitor's mindset is wanting to learn more about what the story has to offer.
Your storytelling goes hand-in-hand with your visuals and design structure. However, it does not have to be interactive to be effective. But, it must be ENGAGING. If your visitors get bored with your story or barely take any notice of it then what was the point of creating it in the first place.

Your story does not need to be complex. In some cases you can simply tell your story with one image and if this is the case then don't use half a dozen images. If your story needs half a dozen images or more then definitely don't use just one or two to get your story across. It's all about knowing your story well and making it as detailed or as simple as it needs to be in the telling.

Most brands have a story to tell so they can use a feature like storytelling, but if your website is a site where visitors are looking for instant access to information then the use of storytelling may not be for you.  No matter the type of website, it needs to create a connection with the visitor and you do that by providing them with what they are looking for first and foremost, which means you need to have a pretty good idea of what that may be.

2. Interactive storytelling

Some stories benefit from directly involving the user in the story itself. There are interactive features you can use in your storytelling. Once such feature is a guided questionnaire on your site to collect specific information that enables you to make the information you are presenting personal to the user. Effectively, your website becomes more about them, rather than some general, random person. However, the consumer must want to fill the questionnaire in and not be obligated to do so.

The placement of these types of features is important. You want to grab your visitor's attention but at the same time you don't want them to leave because you keep interrupting them online. Use the structure aka design of your website to effectively introduce them to your story through interactive features so they willingly interact and willingly fill out any questionnaires. Sidebar placements up the top to the right or header features are good placement options.

By having a questionnaire on your website you can ensure their interaction with your website is dedicated to them. By engaging visitors in this creative way you encourage your user to be more focused on the kind of message you want to deliver to them and the information they are looking for.

Let's look at an example. Say your business is in the beauty industry and you are selling cosmetics online. In your quick questionnaire you can ask questions like: the colour of their skin, the colour of their eyes, their eye shape, if they have any ski irritations and so on. Then the algorithm on your website will analyze the answers of your user to then provide them with the perfect products to use based on their answers and profile.

Other tools such as, personalised avatars for your user to be a character in your story or the use of chatbots in your design; which we will talk a bit more about later on. These features and animations tell your visitor that your brand cares about their needs and experience online and shouldn't be neglected in today's market.

3. Let your user be a character in your story

There are a number of ways you can enable your user to be a character in your story, by involving them directly and personalizing the way you present your information. One such way could be basing your story on user input. For instance, websites that make the visitor choose which option they are: I'm a developer, I'm a designer, I'm a marketer – and then personalize the information presented based on each type of user.

The use of real time data is also another form of interaction that can be a very effective way to keep users interested and to persuade them to become return visitors. Thanks to Google, Social media platforms like twitter and Facebook and streaming services like Netflix who cater to our every desire, serving us up instant personalized searches, offering us recommendations based on our behavioral data and tapping into the preferences of our peers, our idols and other people with similar tastes, we have become 'lazy users'. Businesses can also use this real time data to create a more personalized experience on their websites just like our favourite browser does when we jump on and search. However, when you consider the implementation of real-time data visualization, think of your type of user first.

Real-time analytics is a must for any business who wants to learn about their visitors. But, observing how your visitors interact with your website in real time is one thing, and acting on your findings is another. There are a number of widgets that you can implement into your site, such as twitter and Facebook and the use of live streaming videos that enable you to communicate quickly with your users and show what other people are saying about your brand, product or service. Some businesses have even used their website to show real-time feeds of their office, which provides the user the experience of being there although they could be sitting on their computer on the other side of the world.

Real-time data is making waves and will continue to evolve in the coming years with the main idea of being about to provide that more personalized experience. Funny, how we live so much of our lives online now especially within our social media accounts but we yearn more each day for that personal touch.

4. Chat bots anyone?

We mentioned Chat bots in tip number 2 and are now going to look into this interactive feature a bit more. One of the earliest interactive chat services would have to be the Microsoft Office assistant, commonly referred to as Clippy the paperclip, who would correct our grammar and highlight misspellings. Since then Chat bots have come a long way. Their ability to simulate conversations makes them a handy customer service and marketing tool for many businesses, especially e-commerce sites, where Chat bots help to facilitate sales 24/7.

Visitors to your website can interact with a web interface like they would with a sales assistant in a brick-and-mortar store, replicating the same experience without having to step out of their comfort zones. Chat bots can function either with artificial intelligence or with human supervision. Another industry that is using Chat bots effectively is the Food industry, where they are used to accept orders.

Using tools like Letsclap, helps online businesses to connect with their customers via messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or WeChat, providing customized customer support and commerce. The use of these conversational interfaces will grow in 2017 and beyond in how web designers think about creating websites to help big and small brands express different sides of their personality and therefore make them more human and approachable to their customers.

More than 900 million people around the world use Facebook Messenger every month, so the introduction of Bots for Messenger last year was a welcome addition to the toolkit of communication channels. Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of this feature without needing any coding knowledge.

5. Have you ever heard of Gamification?

The use of gamification is more popular in mobile apps, however it can still be used on your website. In simple terms it is a system of risk or cost and reward. You are looking for ways to enable your story to reward your visitors by performing certain tasks. These tasks could be filling out a registration form or completing special offers. That is gamification and its main goal is to create visitor loyalty and to keep them engaged.

Rewards when they are worthwhile can be a huge motivator for users to interact with your brand and website. Just make sure that the rewards you are offering are appropriate to the level of risk for your user. Maybe the most challenging part in the use of gamification is to choose the best reward for you and your users. If the reward is too small, users will not bother participating. If it is too big, you could end up losing money, and no business wants that outcome.

The use of gamification is not a direct way of storytelling but it still helps you to include visitors in what you want to share with them about your brand. You can also choose rewards with a direct link to your company story and experiences.

Dropbox is a great example of gamification through voluntary reward. They dangle their users with a reward of 250MB of free space in exchange for a series of small actions, which it cleverly frames as "a series of quests". They then present the quests in a checklist format, which taps into our need to feel a sense of accomplishment when we complete a task.

6. Surprise your visitors with the "Easter egg" effect!

Although more of a tricky interaction in design to pull off, if your website is well-suited to this type of project where the love of discoverability can be incorporated in your story, why not give it a go and give your user a very memorable experience.

What is known as the "Easter egg" effect is when you want to hide something behind a click on your website to surprise your visitors. It can be an animation, a video, a quick game, text and so on. The main objective is to increase your brand awareness and to actually humanize your brand by showing its personality. They can also boost your traffic, and above all provide fun for your user which in turn increases their engagement with your brand.

Giveaway or contest and game sites are great examples where this effect works well. In saying that though, any brand can use an egg on their site and many do, you just don't know about it. Brands and businesses rarely promote their easter eggs, after all that's part of the fun. And, who doesn't like an easter egg hunt?

Some developers might leak information online, but most of the time, users have to "hunt" or stumble upon these little eggs all on their own. They are a great way of generating word-of-mouth for your business online and with the help of digital marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Buzzfeed; they can spread like lice through a primary school.

One of the most known easter eggs, is Google Chrome's: Unable to Connect. This mini game involves a small dinosaur. When your WiFi is down or Google Chrome can't find a connection, it'll take you to a simple grey page with a dinosaur. Click the space bar to help it to jump obstacles.

No matter the complexity of your egg, your project needs to be well-executed to have a positive effect at the end. Make sure your audience understands and enjoys this kind of playful interaction, as not everyone will appreciate it, and for some users, it may be frustrating.
Before you design anything, know who your user is and treat your easter eggs like 'icing on the cake'. You need your website to be fully optimized before you think about adding little extras to the recipe.

7. Create interactivity when doing common actions

Common actions online include scrolling, clicking and tapping. We complete these without a second thought. So why not add some interactive value in your design when users perform these common actions.

With scrolling incorporate parallax scrolling, this has become one of the most popular techniques to tell a linear visual story. As a user scrolls down your website you introduce them to your brand, products or service in a clean effective use of images and text.

When clicking, use your images in reinforce where your visitors should click. Tell them what will happen when they do click and why it's beneficial. Capture their attention with the right graphics to get your message across as well as a great headline, which is no more than 5 – 7 words. After all we are all time sensitive these days and are bombarded by so many images you want to ensure that your story makes sense, grab their attention and keeps them engaged.

Another technique in storytelling is to make your visuals respond when your user performs the common actions like scrolling and clicking. In many cases this will be some simple animation incorporated in your design.

In my research I came across the Babel app website, which I absolutely love the design of and is a great example (http://babeltheking.com/eng ). As you scroll down, a cat that is the title character, Babel seems to fall from the sky, and tumbles all the way down to the bottom, unless you stop scrolling. When you stop the cat rights itself, holding onto an umbrella. Check it out as it's sure to make you smile.

Every good story has a beginning, middle and an end. Even a single image with text should follow the same rule, it is just quicker to complete. It becomes more vital for longer, more complex stories to have a plan in place, so research your visitor. Put yourself in the shoes of your user and take the time to map out your story with the beginning being the start of the customer journey, in the middle you'll engage with them and at the end is where they will complete the final goal.

Need help with your web design? Then get in touch for a little chat about your design needs.

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Want to Increase your Conversion Rate Online?

Your SEO is doing wonders for your website and getting you great rankings and even better traffic, but this traffic means nothing to your business if it doesn't convert to meaningful revenue. What will matter the most to the bottom line of any online marketing activities will be your conversion rate.  This can also come in a number of forms and really depends on the goals of your website and what you are trying to achieve when people visit, other than the ultimate need for visitors to purchase your products and services. You might want visitors to engage in content download, have meaningful interactions with elements of your site, and fill out any forms to build on your database for future interactions, just to name a few.  Increasing conversation rate seems pretty simple, right. Unfortunately, if you've ever tried it, you know it's not as easy as it sounds. There are any numbers of variables that will factor into whether or not a visitor converts, but on the flip side there are any numbers of strategies you can use. Let's have a look at some of them below.


Call to Action

We all know what this is and you should include a call-to-action on your website, but why stop at just one. Place these throughout your website in button form, signup opportunities, popup offers, and download opportunities, within the body of your content and blog posts, situated in the side-bar and header. By placing these call-to-actions throughout your website you are giving your visitor more opportunity to convert, however don't be obnoxious where your visitor gets fed up with them and simply leaves. Think about the placement of the call-to-action and how they can be relevant within your design structure and provide benefit to your potential customer.

Let's check out a few stats on CTA's

  1. ContentVerve saw a 90% increase in click-through rate by using first-person phrasing.
  2. Personalized CTAs convert 42% more visitors into leads than untargeted CTAs. (HubSpot)
  3. Neil Patel found that users prefer to learn about the offer before clicking a CTA - placing his CTA above the fold decreased conversions by 17%. (QuickSprout)
  4. Grow & Convert estimates conversion rates for certain CTA locations:

A. Sidebar: 0.5 - 1.5%
B. Generic, end-of-post: 0.5 - 1.5%
C. Pop-ups: 1 - 8%
D. Sliders and bars: 1 - 5%
E. Welcome gates: 10 - 25%
F. Featurebox: 3 - 9%
G. Navbar: varies

We can go on with many more statistics about CTA's and what will work for some, may not work for you. Successful Call-to-Actions require experimentation and testing and a willingness to try new things, so dive in.

Trust Seals

Adding one or multiple trust seals can also help with your conversion rate online. Many industries have authority companies that oversea them, such as the travel industry with The Australian Federation of Travel Agents Limited (AFTA). Any travel agency in Australia registered with AFTA is then in turn considered to be a trusted agent and therefore legitimate. If you are shopping online then having certain trust seals is extremely important for the customer to see, as well as having an SSL certificate associated with your site. More than 88% off people feel that trust seals are important when shopping online and over 70% have cancelled their online order because they did not "trust" the transaction.

So check within your industry what authorities can provide an extra level of trust when people land on your website. Find out who are they and what you need to do to get rewarded?

Some other great things to keep in mind to help your conversion rate online are:

You're Headline

It is perhaps the single most important element of your landing page. GRAB THEIR ATTENTION!! with a great headline.

You're in the business of solving problems

It is important to clearly state the benefits of your product and or service. Listing your product and service features is a must, but even more important is to tell your potential customers / visitors exactly how your product and service will be of benefit to them or solve their problem.

Keep it above the fold

Ideally any opt-in boxes and other conversion elements should be above the fold for better results. However we have already mentioned that you can add more than one CTA, strategically placed throughout your site for even more optimal conversion rate results.

Humanize your brand

Adding a simple video on landing pages to show there's a real person behind your brand or having a fun creative video to introduce your business is a must in any website. Including video on a website landing page can increase conversion rates by 80% and 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others (hubspot).

Kick the 'Hype' to the curb

In today's environment most consumers are to savvy to fall for copywriting based on hype. So ditch it and focus more on clear, easy to follow and compelling copy that will help your potential customer to purchase or pick up the phone to call.

Single column vs. multi-column layout

Many sites have a double-column layout, one experiment done by Marketing Experiments with a test version showed a 681 % increase in conversions when changing from a double column layout to single. You can probably guess that less distractions, more streamlined content, and perhaps better eye tracking were all factors that led to an easier user experience. However, with more testing generic searches had customers requiring more clarity of value from the brand before making a decision to convert, and multi-column layouts with more complex information did better in aiding the conversion rate by providing a wider array of information on the brand to build initial trust.

It comes down to the visitor's relationship with the brand. The more a customer knows about the brand, the simpler and more focused website design tends to win. On the flip side the less known about the brand by the visitor the more complex, multi-faceted and weighted website design won.
Think about your brand and how well-known in the market place it is. We all can't be Apple, but good web design will always have a structure drawn out and created before actually being developed.

There are many more tips to help with conversion rates online and we have touched on a few that I think are pretty important. In saying this, the last tip we are going to look at below is a must.

Test! Test! Test!

One of the best things you can do to improve your conversion rate is to test. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. You never know unless you try and as I previously mentioned what works for some may not work for you. You can try A/B or split testing which involves testing one version of a page or interface element against another version of the same thing. Each element will be measured by its effectiveness in comparison to the other. These elements will all be defined by what the conversion looks like to you and as previously touched on this could be signing up for an email newsletter, creating an account with a login and password, making a purchase, downloading your app, or something else entirely.

There are also some software's that exist to help you set up tests. Some of these are free like Google Content Experiment or you can pay for others such as Optimizely or Website Optimizer.  After testing, it's important to track, collect information and analyze the statistics. There is no point in doing this if you are not analyzing the data. The statistics will tell you what elements need to be kept or improved. You can also ask your audience to give their feedback on what they are looking for and what you can improve. There is also software that can help with this too.

It is really good to have traffic on your website, it's even better when this traffic generate profits! Need help with your website then give us a call on (07) 5592 2685 or email info@selectmarketing.net.au  to get your conversion rates soaring?

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THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN GETTING YOUR WEBSITE DEVELOPED

So you are in the market for a web designer to develop a website for your business or redesign your current site. Let's face it, you wont be short of options as there are a lot of companies and indivudals to choose from. With online marketing growing more and more each year, your website is going to be one of the most important tools you have to promote your business and increase sales.

As a business asset, your website is going to need to achieve your business goals, so not only do you need to be aware of the process but also ask questions to your designer about responsiveness, their previous work, the cost involved -including revisions-, the scope of the website development and so on. It is also important that you ask your developer about other issues like hosting, administrator access and control of your website, especially if you choose to go on a plan.
We have lost count how many times we have had issues with new clients who have had bad experiences with previous designers because of their lack of knowledge around the following areas:


1. Hosting is NOT FREE. You have a website developed but you have to sit it somewhere so people can see you on the internet!

Ask your developer if you are not sure about what the best hosting options are. Most CMS websites will sit on a cpanel or in the cloud these days. I personally prefer a cpanel because it gives complete control. If they set up the hosting for you, then make sure you have all the login details! If you are on a plan where hosting is included but you are coming to the end of the plan and want to take over the site yourself, make sure you ask how the website can be moved to a new hosting account and what options are available for you. It is good to know these things before you make any decisions on the best options for you and your business when it comes to web development.


2. Your domain name information is important.

Make sure you have all the login details and certificates for your website domain. In fact, it is not hard to set this up yourself online when purchasing it.

Your website will be connected to your domain name. You cannot have one without the other to sit online. If you do choose a website plan and the company is setting up the domain name for your website, make sure they are setting it up in your name with your business ABN and not theirs. Otherwise, they are the ones who will own your domain name and you do not want this, as this domain is what all your online marketing will revolve around when directing people to your business!

3. Administrator access of your website.

Know your login details, even if you are sitting on a plan. Any website will have an administrator area where changes can be made. Make sure you keep a copy of these login details. It is also important that you back up your website regularly in case you ever get hacked.

In addition to this, you need to know exactly what you want your website to do. Your website will be more or less expensive based on what your goals and what your business is offering. If you are selling services through a simple website, it might cost you less than if you are selling products, which requires a shopping cart. Don't be shy, be specific and voice everything you need so you are fully aware of what the costs will be to develop the website and ensure an open relationship between you and your developer!

 

Keep in mind that building a website is only the beginning; your website will be completely useless without a proper search engine optimization strategy (SEO). SEO will get your website good rankings on search engines and bring you natural traffic - which is what you aim for. No matter how good a website looks, it will never get traffic if sitting in page 3 of Google.

Our team of web designers is more than happy to answer any questions you may have. We have a couple of options for our clients including plans, at Rent-a-Website. Talk to us today about your website development needs on (07) 5592 2685 or by email at info@selectmarketing.net.au.

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DIY Website Builder vs. the Web Developer

Did you know that there are now more than one billion websites online ... impressive isn't it!

So if you are planning on adding to this ever growing number, then you will first have to decide how you want to go about building your website. If you are already a skilled web developer than your decision will be easy, however if you are like many other people in business, and have little to no experience with web development technologies, then you are left with two options. You either hire a web developer to do the job for you or you jump on the DIY merry-go-round and use a website builder.

There are a number of website builders out there, including Site builder, Wix, Shopify, SquareSpace and Weebly. These types of programs rely on drop and drag with pre-designed template options for you to use. Some are free, but most have a per month cost, and in many cases these costs seem quite low, so it makes this simple do-it-yourself platform very appealing. They will promise you professional results, after all it's their marketing mantra, but there are no professionals involved. Over time these "low costs" will add up, after all that is the revenue model behind these website builders, but we will go into this a little bit further down in this post.

Another thing you may need to be aware of with these DIY website builders is that you may have to put on many hats in building your website yourself and these hats may include brand strategist, graphic designer, web designer, UX expert, copywriter, and marketing professional.
These DIY solutions may sound like the perfect fit, especially if your business is just starting out, but it can also be a very risky choice to make.
I'm going to talk a little bit to you about Site builder. You may be offered this product when you purchase your domain and host account; two things you need to have a website sit online. This free website builder may come with a couple of pages to start you off, anything more you would have to increase your monthly plan. With these pre-built templates you don't really have to think too much about the design. Creating your website using the Site builder is simply a matter of choosing the appearance you want to have, by following the step by step wizard and by selecting a design and entering your site information. This wizard gives the user the impression that the whole process is very easy and doable.
Also with Site builder there is no need to upload any files (aka your website) when it is finished. The Site builder will create the files directly in your web hosting account. Uploading a website can seem like a daunting process, so for many people this option has tremendous allure for businesses looking to save money on web development, however for your web designer it's as easy as 1, 2, 3 and really should be included in your cost of development.
With website builders such as Wix, SquareSpace and Weebly, you only need a web browser to operate them, and they allow users to build their website without any manual coding. Since they first began these website builders have advanced over the years and do offer more user-friendly features such as drop and drag, social media integration, as well as eCommerce solutions.

While these website builder options can accommodate most basic needs in web design, anything more advanced and in need of customization will require a developer. If all you are promoting online with your business is information about you and your services, then these static website builder options could answer most of your needs in promoting your business online but take note, these DIY website builders are very limited in their capabilities and professional developers are not, so you really need to have a good idea of how you want your brand to be represented online and what the goals are that you have for your website in promoting your business in this ever growing market place.

Below we are going to look at some issues that you may face with Site builder (the free option provided by your host) and other website builder options that we have mentioned in this post. It is good for you to be aware of these issues when making your decision.

1. Flexibility of the program, you being in control of and the transferability of your website. Despite what many people think, there is a lot more to developing a website then just the visual appeal. A couple more important aspects to web design that you need to think about should include its usability and search engine friendliness. As you become more educated about these things, you will probably want to modify your website so that it is more user friendly as well as more search engine friendly, because let's face it, just because you have a website online does not mean your target market will find you. When you limit yourself to a DIY website, you are surrendering this flexibility, as well as loosing total control of your website in exchange for the initial ease-of-use in building it. There may be some DIY website programs that provide you with some facilities that enable you to modify each aspect of your website pages, but you will have to spend time learning the interface so you know how to work with it or have to work around it, so that you can accomplish your goals in building your website. However, all the skills you learn when working with these builders will never be transferable, which basically means the moment you leave your web host company, you will have to re-learn everything again because you will need a brand new website.

2. Many businesses using the Site builder provided by their host means that their website is locked to that particular web host provider because they used their host's website builder. Now this is very important so take note, the template and graphics used by the builder are copyrighted, and licensed to them for use on their website only if the site remains with that host. So if you were to move to another web host provider, you could no longer use that template. Your website is one of your most important promotional tools online, so basically if you move you have to start all over again from scratch.

NOTE: Never allow your site to be locked into any web host. What if the hosting company service deteriorates or they decide to unreasonably increase their prices, or even worse they go out of business altogether. Your website and your business will be held hostage and there isn't anything you can do about it and this scenario actually happens more often than not.

3. Content is one of the most important aspects of your website. When you use Site builder you still have to invest time and effort in creating good content and the only person who can do this is you, unless you hire a professional of course to do all your content writing. Google also loves content, and even more fresh content, so the more content in particular keyword rich content the better off you will be. With a free website if you are limited to only 1 or even three pages, then this can affect the overall presence of your business online when it comes to how much content you can have within your website.

4. Domain holdup issues. If you are a website builder user and you decide to move away from them you may find that your domain registration is tied up with the company the website builder is with. Now if you've been marketing and branding your business online and offline with this domain name, imagine the ramifications if your domain name is forever lost, at worst or tied up in red tape, at the very least.

5. Another issue is not having much differentiation between you and your competitors and non-competitors. Any professional marketer will tell you that your BRAND is important. How you choose to market yourself will cross many tunnels both online and offline. Presently, host companies offering Site builder and other website builder options, have hundreds, thousands and maybe even millions of users. Actually, one company boasts over 42,000,000 users. That's a HUGE number, and we suspect very over-inflated, but if this is the case then guess how many other people have a website that looks like everyone else's.

6. Customer support, after all you are not a professional web developer right! If you have questions, no one can hear you scream in frustration if you are not sure how to do something, like change the font on the template, re-size images, how you can set up a blog and so on. They will have support staff there for you to use, but in many cases you will probably have to pay for this service.

7. Years ago Flash was very popular in website development, and if you are not up-to-date with development trends then you may not know many developers will not use Flash anymore. In the case of many website builders, websites are usually created with Flash. No matter what anyone tells you, Flash is not SEO friendly. Google actually recommends against using it and is going to war with Flash. Last year, Google's Chrome browser automatically paused web ads that use Flash and this year plans to start blocking most Flash content with Chrome will come into effect. Under its current plans, nearly every website that has Flash content will be blocked by default on Google. Visitors will still be able to enable Flash content only on a site-by-site basis, but they would have to specifically choose to do so. You can imagine that this will get very annoying if you have to accept Flash every time you go onto a website. Other search engines like Mozilla are also making the move away from Flash content showing up. Only the top 10 sites will have Flash enabled by default and these include YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, and Amazon. But they'll only have a one year exemption. After that, they will also have Flash blocked by default, just like everyone else. Security is also a major concern for any site using Flash, as well as its thirst for using system resources.

8. If you want to be found in search engines, then this issue is pretty important. Google can't verify your site in Webmaster Tools. You are probably wondering for non SEO people, what does this mean? For web developers it means that tools like Analytics Codes and Webmaster Tools allow us to monitor site downtime, crawl rates, broken links, and search traffic. Poor site analytics, caused by older scripting technologies, don't allow many DIY website builder users to get an accurate picture of their site's traffic and performance. Many developers, if they have your best interest at heart when building your site, use Google's highly recommended analytics service and install a code which tracks everything that is happening on your website. We set this up in all of our clients Google accounts, install the code and Webmaster Tools and verify their site with Google. If you are on one of our SEO plans then each month you receive a detailed report. I should point out here that as a marketer, this research is very useful when it comes to promoting your business and where to spend your marketing dollars.

9. Today with more and more users searching on their smartphones for websites it is extremely important your website is mobile friendly. Slow-loading self-built sites, that are data and graphics laden, turn off all mobile users and churn through their data plans faster. Only desktop users can see your site and usually they won't wait longer than 5 to 10 seconds for a site to load. After all would you wait?

10. I mentioned before how important branding is. Another point to make here is that without a real domain name, having a URL of suchnsuch.com.au/username would be a bit of a pain to put on your business cards, or say over the phone and for many people an unprofessional representation of your business. I should point out here that many website builders, such as Wix are enabling you to connect a domain name to your site, but you have to be on their premium plans to do this. According to Wix, you can upgrade to a yearly Combo, Unlimited or ecommerce Premium Plan to receive a free domain for a year. It is great that they are offering this, but I think you should take note of my next point.

11. YOU WILL NEVER OWN YOUR WEBSITE. You will indefinitely pay a monthly fee to have your website online, and you can never leave and take it with you.

It is important for me to point out of course that I am bias in my views, as the owner of a marketing and web development business, but you can't argue with some of the issues above when it comes to using a DIY website builder. It might be a good idea to start with, but there are also many limitations that can and will stunt the growth of your business online in the future.
Your web developer should care and have an investment in the successful building of your website; after all, if you grow then they grow. Once you have your website there is no ongoing costs other than the domain and hosting renewal costs.

So the choice is yours, you can ditch the Forever Costs and have a developer build you a website that will put your best foot forward both visually and SEO friendly or DIY your website yourself.

I hope the information above has been of some help and will give you more freedom in your choice. No matter which way you go we want all businesses to succeed, after all it's what you are passionate about.

If you want to look at having a website developed with us then we would love to hear from you. We have two options available, to purchase upfront with a deposit to start then final payment on completion or to jump on a monthly plan (for a min. 12 months) to help you pay it off over time. These plans start from $49.95 per month, depending on your website development goals.

Call us on (07) 5592 2685 or email info@selectmarketing.net.au . If you want to check out the plans then visit www.rent-a-website.com.au 

 

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YOUR WEBSITE CONTENT IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR BUSINESS!

Did you know that there are 571 websites developed every minute around the world?

In this fast paced and the continually growing online environment, your website is your number 1 promotional tool. A well-developed website can help your company flourish in this arena, where competition is fierce.

Having a good website compared to a great site will rely on a few important factors, including content being KING, because after all, the Internet was created in the first place as an information source.

Rudyard Kipling said "Words are of course the most powerful drug used by mankind".

Through your website content you should be able to:

1. Allow you to build a unique relationship with your current customers and to turn your visitors into clients.

2. Communicate whatever message you want to get across.

3. Your message needs to answer visitor's questions and satisfy their need for knowledge in relation to your industry, service or product.

4. Tell your potential client, what they need to do next. Have a Call to Action!!!

However, 72% of websites fail to attract new customers and to maintain traffic. These websites are ignored by both search engines and users because of one main reason: out-dated website content!

Great content is great for your website, that fact will never be disputed, but even better is having updated content regularly on your website.

Below are some of the main reasons why content update should be a top priority:

1. Better rankings

By adding fresh entries to your website, you remain interesting to search engines, which get you more traffic and improve your ranking among other websites. Fresh content can also grant you better indexing as you add new keywords and keep your website relevant.

2. Fresh content is attractive to Google

Search engines such as Google are usually more attracted by active and updated websites as new keywords and phrases are added frequently. Updating your content is more likely to win you points with Google. Of course too many changes aren't advised either: a good website should be updated once a day or at least twice a week.

3. Frequent updates = keywords = better SEO

It is obvious that by adding content to your website, you will get you more attention from Google because of keywords. These keywords are an important aspect of SEO and will grant you more traffic. Also, posting different types of content will allow you to add new keywords that Google might consider interesting to visitors. However it is important to keep in mind that the number of keywords isn't what matters, their relevance is.

4. Customer retention

Your website should be customer friendly: easy-to-use, easy-to-read, no broken links, frequently updated content, etc. A well built and frequently updated website will retain the interest of your existing clients as it will keep them informed, and also attract new ones as it will provide them with valuable content.

SEO should be important to everyone who has a website, as it is the tool used in which your potential customers will find you. Let's face it – you know yourself when you are searching you click on what you are looking for within the first top 3 – 5 within the organic search options. Is your website sitting in this space?
Some facts to consider are that 92% of marketers will tell you that fresh content is very effective or somewhat effective for SEO and that 76% of those same marketers will have a strategic SEO campaign in place that considers content creation important.

61% of consumers will more likely take action on your website if it offers original content and a well ranked website with brand authority will get at least 50% of consumers to actually take action when on your website.
Your website's success is our priority. If you need help with SEO, then talk to us about receiving your FREE SEO report to look at where your site is sitting or click here to register. Our SEO plans start from $50 per week, which is a great cost effective way for you to start. If you have issues with your website and need to look a more effective promotional tool for your business then we have you covered there too.

Get in touch with us today on (07) 5592 2685 or email info@selectmarketing.net.au 

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