You can have one of the best designed websites on the internet, yet if your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is lacking in comparison to that of your competitors, chances are you won’t be seen.

SEO is a technique carried out to enhance or promote a website in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. There are many different aspects to SEO but ultimately it is about ensuring that your websites content is easily understood by humans and Search Engines.

If you run a website for your business, sooner or later you’ll discover the world of SEO. Here are 4 elements you should be considering when looking to improve your websites SEO:

 

Post useful content

Content is key! But not just any content. Regularly updated, quality content is seen as the number one driver for search engine ratings. If you are creating useful and engaging content that is relevant to your target market, the traffic coming to your website will significantly improve. By starting with quality content, you’ll build a strong foundation to support your other SEO efforts.

Ensure that your content is shareable via social media; if people find it interesting, helpful or enjoyable they may wish to share it with others which will essentially help improve your SEO.

 

Use appropriate keywords

SEO keywords are the words or phrases within your websites content that make it possible for people to find you via search engines.

The placement of appropriate keywords throughout your site is potentially one of the most important steps you can take to improve your websites SEO. If you’re not using suitable keywords on your pages, Google may not rank your page accurately. This can increase your website bounce rate as you’ll be attracting the wrong people who are leaving quickly.

By taking into consideration what words your target market is using, you’ll be able to determine what words you should be using on your website pages to rank higher in their search results.

 

Check your links

Your website links should be a way of giving visitors more information on particular topics. You need to be checking your links as there’s nothing worse than someone seeking more information and clicking on a link that doesn’t exist or is broken. Links shouldn’t be taking people to a page that has nothing to do with the text they’re reading, so ensure that your links are quality as they’ll help build your reputation online.

Not sure where to start? It can be beneficial to link to previous blog posts or pages within your website. Use links wisely however, because if you have too many people may lose interest as your site can end up looking spammy.

 

Optimise on-page elements

On-page SEO is the practice of optimising each individual web page of your website, in order to attract more relevant traffic from search engines. Page titles, meta descriptions and URL structures are all good places to start.

Page Titles:

This is the HTML that is used to describe the main topic of your webpage and is what will show up on a search engine result page (SERP) as well as the title of the tab. Make sure you’re including at least one of your target keywords in your title so that people searching can easily identify whether your page is relevant to what they’re seeking out.

Meta Descriptions:

These are shown under your title in search results. These descriptions are more for people than for search engine. You should be using these to tell people why they should click through to your website.

URL Structures:

Keeping your URL’s relevant and accurate are the key to ranking well. The URL for your web pages should be as descriptive and as brief as possible so that visitors know exactly what to expect. Try and keep it to businessname.com/topic-name

 

SEO plays a vital role in your businesses digital marketing strategy. Good SEO takes time and although it can be quiet overwhelming to begin with, when done well it will help drive quality traffic to your website. That sums up some useful hints that’ll help improve your on-page SEO; stay installed for some more tips on how to improve your off-page SEO.

Good design is important in every aspect of a company. Your business website is no exception as your website design is what speaks to your potential customers when you cannot. Your website has only a few short seconds to make a lasting impression on visitors, therefore a well-designed website may mean the difference between gaining an edge over your competitors or turning potential customers/clients away completely.

 

First Impressions

Can you believe first impressions are 94% design related? Your website may be a customer’s first impression of your product or service, so you need to ensure it’s a memorable one. Customers are often inundated with information when searching for products and services, therefore they can be quite selective with what they give their time and attention to. In saying this, it’s important that you capture your audiences attention with a visually pleasing web design that they will remember. By strategically implementing the most suitable images, colours, fonts and various other elements, your website will have a higher chance of engaging users quickly.

A bad first impression, means you’ll lose a potential customer to your competitors.

A good first impression, means you’ll most likely gain a new customer.

A great first impression, means not only will customers want to do business with you, you’ll also build brand loyalty, improving the likeliness that customers will remember your company when referring friends or choosing to use the products or services you provide again.

 

Brand Loyalty

This brings us to brand loyalty. A well-designed website does more than just look good, it has the potential of portraying professionalism and building trust. Acquiring customers in the first instance is hard enough, so keeping them loyal is something you should be aiming to achieve. By having a well-designed website, users will view your business as being more reliable, gaining the impression that not only do you know what you are doing, you also know how to present your information in a clear and concise way.

 

User Experience

User experience can also be affected by good or bad website design. Your website needs to be responsive to ensure that users have a seamless and easy experience. Therefore, if your website is not up to date, missing key information, cluttered or disorganised then chances are, users will leave. Your website needs to be well-designed in order to present the information you’re providing in the best possible way. This will improve the users experience by making the information easy to digest and assisting them in understanding how to navigate various pages.

 

The mere presence of a business website is no longer good enough; people have higher expectations than ever before. With more and more businesses establishing an online presence, consumers are looking for website designs that stand out.

If you’re unsure where to start, or want to ensure that your website ticks all the boxes for being well-design, get in touch and well will see what we can do for you.

The Queensland Government are offering their Small Business Digital Grant Program which provides businesses with access to digital technologies and services to enable them to work smarter, engage with the global economy and make the most of online business opportunities arising from digital disruption.

 

What’s Available

Matching funding of up to $10,000 (excluding GST) for the purchasing of digital technology or service which must fall under one of five identified priority areas:

  1. digital marketing and social media
  2. digital content (web pages, mobile apps, media etc.)
  3. receiving payments or selling online
  4. specialised digital technology or software (business specific)
  5. digital planning and advice/training.

 

Eligibility

To be eligible your business must:

  1. have fewer than 20 employees at the time of applying for the grant
  2. have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST
  3. have Queensland headquarters or significant Queensland-based operations
  4. declare if any owners or directors of the business are an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.

Please Note

Round 1 opens on 8 November 2016 and closes 9 December 2016.

If you would like us to assist you with a proposal for our services, then you will need to contact us by 10am Thursday 8th December at the latest. This will allow us enough time to put a proposal together for your submission.

If you are interested in applying for the grant or are looking for more information please visit: www.business.qld.gov.au/business/support-tools-grants/grants/digital-grants 

Can you believe 91% of people are more likely to turn to the internet to research a business and their offerings before making a purchase decision?

As a small business owner, it’s essential that you have a website ready for potential customers who are searching for your services online. It allows your target market the convenience of easily finding out the basics of your business, products and services without leaving the comfort of their own home.

46% of small businesses reported not having a website; if you’re in that 46% then it’s time to make a change. We’ve put together 5 reasons why your small business needs to have a website:

 

To be found

Most searches begin online. A well designed website makes it easy for people to find your business 24/7/365, acting as a sales tool that’s accessible at any time. With 9 out of 10 consumers using the internet to look for goods or services, people tend to want to find out as much as they can about a business and its competitors before making a decision on who to purchase from. To put it simply, if your business isn’t online, you’re already losing customers.

 

To build credibility

First impressions matter. A well designed and executed website is your first chance at a good impression for potential customers. 84% of consumers believe a business with a website is more credible than one with only a social media page. You need to give yourself the ability to be found otherwise you may lose credibility altogether.

 

To increase customer base

Business success can rest largely on a company’s ability to bring in new customers. Getting online can enable you to reach a wider target audience while at the same time giving you measurable results. You’ll also be paying less for exposure in comparison to traditional marketing methods such as print advertising or direct mail.

 

To gain a competitive advantage

If your competitors are online and you’re not, then you’re already behind! With people taking to the internet to search for products and services, they are going to find your competition and not you. The longer you wait to create a website for your small business, the more customers you could potentially be losing to your competitors who are already online.

 

To keep customers informed

Your website can act as an important information sharing platform. Potential customers will have access to information such as your address, phone number, email address, services, pricing lists or current offers. Websites are designed to make things easier for your target market, by giving them the relevant information they need to ensure they are able to make informed decisions about which product or service they are looking for.

 

If your small business is relying solely on a physical store or traditional marketing efforts, you may be limited in the success or growth of your business. Essentially, if you don’t have a website, you’re losing potential customers.

With this being said, you should never chose to take shortcuts when making your business visible online. It’s vital that your online presence is professional and provides your customers with an engaging experience, encouraging them to want to do business with you.

 

If you fall into the 46% of small businesses who reported not having a website, contact us and let’s see what we can create for you!

Have you ever been waiting to purchase a product at a physical storefront, however the waiting line was so long that you chose to leave instead? This mentality isn’t exclusive to physical retailers, people visiting WooCommerce sites face the same dilemma.

WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin built to integrate seamlessly with WordPress. It allows you to sell products and services online from your WordPress site. Made popular by its simplicity to install and customise, it now powers 39% of all online stores.

Did you know a 2-second delay in website load time can increase abandonment rates by up to 87%? This means your WooCommerce website needs to be fast in order to gain as many paying customers as possible.

To help you improve the speed of your WooCommerce site we’ve put together a few tips for optimal performance.

 

Choosing the correct host

The first step in improving the speed of your WooCommerce site is choosing a host that can handle your site. You need to make sure your website loads as fast as possible because first impressions are key to survival on the internet. Choosing a reliable host can keep your site running smoothly; if the hosting service is using old, low quality computer this will affect your website performance.

 

Optimize images to improve load speed

Images that have not been optimized increase page loading times, which can not only frustrate visitors but have an adverse effect on search engine rankings. Optimizing your images will reduce your website page loading times, reduce bandwidth and improve browsing experience for visitors.

You can compress the images for your site quickly, using Photoshop or a web tool like TinyPNG.

 

Make use of a content delivery network

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are also a helpful tool to improve user experience if your customers are both local and international. Although businesses should be hosting their site where their primary target market are, CDN’s are a great way to help reach other target markets. A CDN allows users of your site to download content from a closer source, providing a faster loading time on your website pages.

CDNs like CloudFlare offer free plans ideally for small stores, however paid plans can also be purchased if your store is rapidly growing.

 

Always keep up-to-date

It may seem time-consuming to constantly be updating your WooCommerce site and its extensions, however avoiding the process for too long could put your store at risk.

There are constant improvements being made to enhance speed, as load performance is an area that is of high importance. If you are able to keep all installed extensions up to date, you will reduce the risk of encountering conflicts that could potentially slow down your WooCommerce site.

 

Evaluate new and existing WordPress plugins and WooCommerce extensions

A site’s sluggishness may be related to the plugin load, as different plugins impact your websites load time in different ways. It is important before installing a new plugin to consider if the plugin is necessary for your site, if not it may unnecessarily add to your plugin load and slow your page loading times. To test if a plugin may be affecting the speed of your store, you can temporarily disable all plugins and reactive each one by one until you find a potential cause. Always ensure that you are evaluating plugins before they’re installed to ensure that they are the best solution.

 

A fast store has benefits for everyone. If reading these tips has sparked some question around the speed that your website may be performing at, Italic have a “WordPress Speed Boost” package available.

You can find out more at italiccreative.com/wordpress-speed-boost/.

There are some things to remember about your business cards that often get forgotten over time. Once you have had your business cards designed and printed they are often kept out of mind, until you hand them out to the next prospective customer.
So what are some useful hints to keep in mind about your business cards.

  • Your business cards represent your brand and are the first thing a customer receives from you
  • Keep them simple and easy to read for you customers
  • Make sure your business card suits your business and industry including colours and design
  • Use another language on you business card if you work with foreign markets
  • Have relevant information without overcrowding you card
  • Go for quality, your customer will notice the difference
  • Only have images that are necessary and relate to your business
  • As your business changes so should your business card, keep them up to date
  • Never use an old business card when you run out
  • Go the extra mile and get them designed professionally

 

If reading these items have sparked something inside you then the best bet is you have become a culprit of one or two of these hints. Contact us at Italic and we can review your business card for you.

Are you nodding your head unknowingly when you hear people saying, your site needs to be responsive? It is a very simple concept and doesn’t require you to be kept in the dark.

Responsive websites are designed to give the best user experience to your website visitors. This approach is designed to allow for easy navigating, scrolling and resizing across a number of devices. Simply put, it enables your website to be viewed on mobiles and tablets without users having to zoom into a website that is much too large for their screens.

Continue reading “What is a responsive site?” »

A letterhead makes correspondence with your customers more professional, adds credibility to the text of the document and also reinforces your companies brand image. It is such an important marketing material to have.

Surprisingly, I see a lot of letterheads that are not professionally designed and some of these don’t even include a companies basic legal obligations.

Continue reading “Company letterheads – your legal obligations” »

If you missed the news, last week Apple released it’s latest iPhone, celebrating the launch of the 5S and 5C.
Jacqui and I, being the Apple lovers that we are, are LOVING the 5S and it’s Touch ID (a fingerprint identity sensor). But I’m not so sure about the 5C and it’s iPhone case design…

Continue reading “iPhone 5S & 5C – Epic fail Apple” »

There is nothing more important than establishing a strong brand from the very start. A logo should be memorable, timeless, versatile, simple and gives your target market an idea about what you do. Wow, it’s a lot to fit into one design but it is achievable and a good strategy (along with experience) will help to achieve this.

So where do most companies go wrong?

When starting out most companies usually have a small budget so may not be able to invest in the best brand possible. You probably know about competition model websites like 99 Designs which have a number of designers that upload designs in a “contest” to win the prize money and yes you can get a good logo design for a small penny but as they say if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Continue reading “Establishing a good brand” »