Online Marketing

How to Write effective Web Pages

How to write Effective Web Pages


Content is King

Carefully consider that each page on your website is an opportunity to capture or lose your audience. Too much text is difficult to read on a screen, visitors to a website tend to scan the screen and then decide to read. 

Use Clear Headings and Titles

Visitors decide whether to invest time reading your content after scanning the page. Keep headings concise, clear and pertinent.

End at the Beginning

Visitors to your website are impatient. Clearly indicate what the page is about in the first few lines.

Create a Strong Introduction

Create a strong introduction which summarises what the page is about.  This will determine if the visitor will read on.

Use Lists

Lists or bullet points are easier to read on a screen, than scanning left-to-right.  Keep them short and clear.

Write Clearly

The rule here is do not be wordy.  Keep things clear, but brief.  Make simple, succinct points.  Try to keep one idea per paragraph and remember this is not print - attention spans are shorter

Content Must be Relative to your  Audience

Know your audience, communicate with them, not at them. Play to people's and don't use technical words, unless you really have to, or you have a technical audience.

Don't assume your readers have been to certain pages of your website before others. With a growing dependence on search engines, visitors often arrive at a website two tiers down from the home page. Consider the visitor's point of view: If I knew nothing about this company or website, would I understand this page?

Specify Links with Style and Language

Links are another way visitors can scan your web pages as they stand out from normal text – or at least they should. Make sure your links differ in colour or style from other text on your website.

When creating a link, avoid the phrase 'click here' - use a meaningful phrase.

Proofread

The best method to proof read is to read your content out loud.

 

Online Marketing - How to build links to your website

Link Building is one of the most frustrating, misunderstood and time consuming aspects of marketing your website online.

It is still however, the key to attaining higher ranking in the search engines (See Google PageRank™)

PageRank™ performs an objective measurement of the importance of web pages by solving an equation of more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Instead of counting direct links, PageRank™ interprets a link from Page A to Page B as a vote for Page B by Page A. PageRank™ then assesses a page's importance by the number of votes it receives.
Google PageRank™ Technology

We are often asked the question that if everyone is link building, to 'artificially' increase their ranking, surely Google will alter it's algorithms to 'penalise' such a strategy.

More info +
   

Ten Rules to promote your business on Twitter

  1. Reply to others

    Become an expert in your field and provide information that is useful. Potential customers will recognise this and are more likely to do business with you.
  2. Remember you are a real person

    Post under your real name and the company's.  People respond to people rather than faceless companies.  It is OK to post about non-business related items but don't get too personal.
  3. Raise questions and highlight issues in your field

    This will encourage some interaction between you and your community
  4. Tweet on the go

    You do not have to be in the office.  There are applications that allow you to update your page from your iPhone or Blackberry
  5. Don't promote your business too much

    If you just post links to your site and don't say anything useful, or interesting - it really is just the equivalent of spam.  Plus you won't build a community.
  6. Save Time

    Set up a Feed from your Twitter Account to automatically update your website.
  7. You will be judged on the company you keep

    Be choosy about who you follow and who follows you.

  8. Consider Multiple Feeds

    Why stick to one Twitter Account.  If you have a business with different niches then create a community around them.
  9. Make your business easy to follow

    It is easy to create  a 'Follow Me' badge.  Add it to your website, business cards and email signatures.
  10. It's behind you

    Its very easy to update your Twitter Account background.  Why not add a promotion or useful information about your business.

   

Online Marketing - Tips on creating a Call to Action

The following are some simple tips on creating Calls to Action on your website which we feel is the only true way to a successful website.

  1. Create a proposition

    Essentially you are creating a problem and offering a solution. Draw your potential customer in with a solution to his/her problem.
  2. Offer something

    A discount,free gift,download or product.
  3. Keep your Call to Action Simple

    Don't confuse. Less is more. Focus on creating a simple to understand message and make it easy to complete.
  4. Not too many

    By all means have more than one call to action, but not too many.  Keep it simple - don't want 'options paralysis.
  5. Use active urgent language

    Like the heartbeats you hear or quickening music that is used on shopping channels, use urgent language to encourage a decision:-
    Buy Now
    Register Today
    But before X date and get Y
    Subscribe Now
    Offers expires soon - buy now
    For a short time only

  6. Position your call to action

    Position your call to action clearly and use plenty of clear or white space,
  7. Have a call to action on every page

    If your website visitor reaches a dead-end they may leave without responding to your call.
  8. Make sure you deliver

    It is absolutely essential that you deliver on the call to action.

It is worth spending time thinking through your Call to Action and work on simplifying it as much as you can.

   

Online Marketing - Build a successful website

There really is only one way to achieving a successful website and that is an effective, well thought out Call to Action.

Simply put, what is the one thing that you wish your clients to do when they visit your website.

At Scoosh we always look for this from the client, and keep it at the forefront of or minds continually while working with the client.  We want their website to be a success too (not just look good!)

Your Call to Action forms the bedrock of  your website and everything on your site should be focused on achieving it.  You can have more than one Call to Action and some can be more important than others

So what is a Call to Action?

Here are a few Call to Action examples:

  • Filling out your contact form or calling you to learn more about your services
  • Signing up for a free report or newsletter
  • Buying a product
  • Signing up for a trial
  • Arranging for a salesman to call
  • Signing up for a demo
  • Attend a seminar
  • make a booking

Some real world examples

Skype keeps it clear and is well designed. The message is simple, the call to action is obvious.

CIQUAL

CIQUAL keep the message clear and concise, with two clear Calls to Action on the homepage.

Visit the Ciqual website.

Calnex

Calnex also keep the message clear using Flash. With a clear call to action for a 'limited time offer'

Visit the Calnex website

Unfortunately, many web sites today are just designed to look good, without giving much thought to the web sites primary goals or measures of success. People searching for solutions, information and products are goal orientated, and the easier and faster you can help them achieve their goals the better.

What is the best way to set up a Call To Action for my web site?

Start by asking some simplequestions:

  • What do I want my customer to do on my web site?
  • What is the goal of my web site?
  • How can I help my customers achieve their goals with my Call to Action?
  • How can I use Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of my Call to Action?
  • How can I improve my CTA for better results over time?

Once you have identified Calls to Action, review your existing website or your new website plans and ask your self if the website is delivering.

But having a Call to Action is not enough

Ensure that you have a process in place to deliver on your Call to Action.

In our view, having clear calls to action is really the only sure way to achieve a scussessful website. But don't take our word for it.  The next time you are surfing the internet, look at those sites that are successful - you will always find clear, concise, easy to identfy calls to action

   

Marketing Your Website - Online Marketing

We will start by covering search engine marketing (SEM) which includes search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising.

We will then move on to affiliate marketing, directories, Email marketing, advertising networks and finally social media.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Background

Having become the most visited online category ahead of the like of portals, social networks and Email, search engine marketing must be at the heart of your marketing efforts. The big three search engines by quite some margin are:


 Search engine Global Market Share
 Google 81.57%
 Yahoo! 10.07%
 Microsoft* 4.71%

* MSN & Live Search now called Bing

(Source: http://marketshare.hitslink.com)

With 96% of the global market, it is pretty much a safe bet if you decide to focus your energy on those search engines alone.

Although Google claim 25% of searches each day have never been conducted before, there are three broad types of searches:

  • Navigational e.g. typing in a brand name that you are already aware of (e.g. Apple BBC)
  • Informational e.g. “World Cup winner 1978”
  • Transactional e.g. “iPod Nano”

A search engine results page (SERP) is made up of two distinct sections; organic results and sponsored results. A typical SERP looks like this:


Looking at this in more detail:

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation is the process of increasing your website’s organic position in a search engine’s ranking. There are two methods to achieve this; ‘On site’ and ‘Off site’.


On-site SEO

On-site deals with all the variables you can control as the site’s webmaster. These are primarily based around your use of keywords:

  • Page title tags <title>
  • Header tags <h1>, <h2> etc
  • Body of text
  • Anchor text <a href=”http://www.example.com”>Anchor
  • text</a>
  • Domain name

Researching keywords

Choosing the right keywords to focus on can be the difference between being ranked highly for the most popular terms and being buried on page 3 or below. There are numerous keyword research tools to choose from, some paid and some free. Unless you have a site running in to hundreds of pages or you have a product inventory the size of Amazon’s, the free tools will be enough.

If we use the search term “trainers” we can choose which variation is most popular (e.g. “trainers” or “trainers shoes”), which associated product/service is most popular (e.g. “Nike trainers” or “Adidas trainers”), and compare completely different words (e.g. which is the most searched for “trainers” or “sport shoes”?)

One of the most popular is KeyWord Discovery’s free search term suggestion tool (http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html).

Google also provide a keyword research tool found through your AdWords account or if you do not have one you can find it here https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
SEO and your meta keywords

In your HTML file, in between the <head> tags there are two meta tags you can use which were created to help inform search engines about your website:

  • <meta keywords=”...”>
  • <meta description=”...”>

Most SEO software still put a lot of emphasis on these as important ranking factors, unfortunately they are selling you a lemon. The meta keywords tag has not been used for ranking factors since the turn of the century due to misuse and spamming. A site can ignore this tag and see no negative impact whatsoever. The meta description again has no ranking influence, but it is used by the search engines for you site’s description in the results page under the title (highlighted below). A strong page <title> (used for the SERPs title) and meta description can greatly increase the number of clicks you get.

Tips for writing your <title> and meta description:

  • Use your brand name and the main two or three keywords in the <title>
  • Do the same for the meta description
  • Write the meta description with people and not the search engines in mind
  • Don’t just use a list of Keywords e.g. “Trainers, sport trainers, Nike trainers...”

Anchor text and SEO

When you link from one page to another in your own website or you link to someone else’s website using non-descriptive terms such as ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’ as the anchor text you are not providing the search engine’s spiders with information about what that page is about. As a result you miss out on taking advantage of one of the most important SEO ranking factors.

To see this in action search for “click here” on Google. You will see Adobe tops the rankings without a single mention of it anywhere on the page (the same goes for all the sites on the first page). This is 100% down to thousands of websites using something along the lines of “To download Adobe Acrobat Reader click here”.

Anchor text and usability

Getting in to good habits naming your anchor text also improves your site’s general usability. Research conducted in to how people read online content shows people don’t, they scan. Visitors look for visual cues as to the page’s topic and what they need to do next. Linked text stands out and draws the eyes, but non-descriptive links tell the user nothing and they will continue scanning elsewhere.

Getting the best of both worlds

When you link to another page use descriptive keywords for both the reader’s benefit and for SEO purposes. For example…“Widgets Inc the UK’s leading provider of uidgets is pleased to announce the launch of Widgets XL.”

When you are linking to a page make sure they are…

  • Descriptive
  • Short
  • Written for the user and not the search engines
  • Part of the sentence and not tacked on at the end

How do you get links to your site?

To get sites to link to you, you need to give them a reason to do so. It sounds simple but it can be a very hard nut to crack.

Good content: Your best bet for links from other sites associated with your industry such as blogs, forums and news sites is to provide content their own visitors will want to read. Blogs are a proven method of doing this with many successful sites even placing their blog at the centre of their business.

Creating link bait: Link bait describes content (be it an article, a widget, a down load...) created especially to attract links from other sites. Some ideas include:

  • Give away something free e.g. research, guides etc
  • Being controversial
  • Launching a widget
  • Appealing to an opinion former’s ego
  • Being funny
  • Running an interview
  • Top xx lists are always popular
  • Survey results

Online press releases: These are a great way to gain links from your industry’s news sites. If you launch a new service, re-design your site, start a special offer etc send out a press release to the relevant news sites and blogs. You will be amazed how many publish the press release, often word for word including a link.

Become active in your community: Put time aside to read other site’s blogs and forum posts and start commenting on them and interacting with other people involved in your industry. Over time you and your site will start to become known. The more incisive and interesting your feedback the better your reputation will be. Simple one liners such as “Great post” will get you nowhere.

Ask for them! Who are your industry’s heavy weights, who carry news, who are the popular blogs etc? You can either try to be subtle and leave a comment or be explicit and send them an email to draw their attention. If you decide to contact any one directly tailor the message specifically to them. They will be able to smell a generic mail shot a mile off.

Buying links: Taking a short cut and buying links directly from sites or through link farms/ brokers can be very tempting when you first start. It is important you understand Google takes a very dim few of this practice and will punish any sites found to be guilty of this. The punishment can vary from having the link juice removed through to your site being excluded from their search results altogether.

Search engine pay per click (SEPPC)

SEPPC is the favoured advertising model of most search engines (including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft). As the name suggests advertisers only pay when someone clicks on one of their adverts.
At its most basic level the model is essentially an auction based on keywords that trigger the adverts. Advertisers state how much they are willing to pay per click for an advert to be shown when someone types in a search phrase with that keyword. The more the advertiser is willing to pay the higher their advert is shown.

However, the bid amount is not the only factor when it comes to the adverts’ rank. To make sure the adverts being displayed are relevant to the search terms the search engines have introduced a series of quality checks that also determine an adverts’ position. Google calls theirs the ‘quality score’ (QS). The quality score is so important that advertisers with a high quality score can bid less and have their adverts shown higher than those with a low quality score.

The factors used include:

  • The adverts’ click through rate
  • The landing page’s relevance to the original search
  • The advertiser’s keyword performance history

You can read more here http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=10215


Campaign structure

A well thought out Google AdWords account benefits from improved quality score (QS), lower bid prices, higher ad positions and more effective reporting/ analysis.
A Google AdWords account has four levels:

  1. Account
  2. Campaign
  3. Ad Group
  4. Keyword

How you structure each level at the set up stage will impact on both your account performance and the ease at which you can analyse results. It will also remove the often tedious and lengthy process of having to restructure the account further down the line.

How to structure the account

Campaign: A product or service
Ad Group: Search themes surrounding the campaign
Keyword : The keywords associated with the ad group theme

For example, if we apply this to domain names…
Campaign: Domain names
Ad Group: Cheap domain name
Keyword: ‘Cheap domain’; ‘cheap domain names’; ‘cheap domain UK’


We would then run an advert tailored to the ad group/ keyword. For example, if someone searched for “Cheap domain names”, our advert would be as follows…

Cheap Domain Names
Domain names only £2.59/year
.com only £4.99. Register now
Widgets.com/cheap-domain

Why structure the account that way?

  1. Increased relevance of the keyword to the ads in its ad group (QS benefit)
  2. Increased relevance of the keyword and the matched ad to the search query (QS benefit)
  3. Adverts tailored to the keyword see a major increase in click through rate
  4. Easier to adjust bids and distribute budgets to the keywords that are the strong performers
  5. It is easy to run reports at each level without unrelated products or keywords skewing the numbers
  6. Conversion tracking cost per acquisition statistics are clean at each level (e.g. if we had grouped ‘cheap domain’ keywords with ‘bulk domain names’ at the ad group level the conversion figure doesn’t tell us which generated the most sales)
  7. It informs your SEO efforts through the impressions metric (i.e. which keywords are the most popular?)


What makes a good SEPPC advert?

As you can see below a PPC advert does not give you a lot of space to grab attention, generate interest and convert that in to a click:
A PPC adverts’ dimensions are:
Title: 25 characters
Line 1: 35 characters
Line 2: 35 characters
Display URL: 35 Characters


To grab as many clicks as possible:

  • Use the keyword at the start of the title
  • Use the keyword at the start of line 1
  • Stand out from the crowd e.g. ”Free delivery”
  • Use a call to action e.g. “25% Sale ends soon”
  • Use the keyword in the display URL

For the search term 'Football Boots' we could use the following...

Football Boots
Football boots 25% off top brands
Sale ends soon. Free delivery
www.example.com/football-boots
[Destination: www.example.com/product1/range3/offer5]

How many should clicks should you expect?

Although this will vary massively from industry to industry and keyword to keyword, it is becoming accepted that PPC adverts claim far fewer of a page’s clicks that the organic results. A split of 85% (organic) / 15% (PPC) is widely considered to be a fair assessment. Although your advert impression reports will show all the times your advert was shown, you are really only going to grab 15% of that total.


   

Marketing Your Website - Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is also known as  pay per performance, is the  setting up your own affiliate program in-house or using a 3rd party network can be an excellent way of generating sales with the added bonus you only pay out per lead or per sale.

By making a series of banners and/ or text links available to other sites they are able to advertise your product and service to their visitors and drive traffic to your site. Tracking software monitors where your sales/ leads can from and you pay the referrer for per conversion. A common acronym used is CPA (Cost Per Action).

In-house or a network?

Setting up on a 3rd party network such as Commission Junction or TradeDoubler requires a significant financial commitment through network fees and a deposit to cover future commission. However, you do get access to a large base of affiliates and all the technical aspects (tracking and reporting etc) are dealt with for you.

If you decide to go for an in-house solution there are a lot of affiliate software solutions to pick from and they are a far cheaper option than the networks. However you will have to manage all technical tracking queries and the number of possible affiliates will be much lower.

Why should people advertise your site?

You should view your affiliate program as being in competition with all your direct and indirect competitors’ affiliate programs for maximum exposure on affiliate’s websites. With this in mind give affiliates a strong reason to first list your site and second to list it prominently. Affiliates like high commission rates, personal contact and competitions related to earning more money e.g. “March’s top seller earns 50% more commission” etc.

   

Marketing Your Website - Online Directories

Although their thunder has been stolen by the search engines, directories are still a great source of both traffic and incoming links for SEO.

DMOZ

THE online directory, one of your first acts should be to submit your site to http://www.dmoz.org/. This directory is used by search engines (including Google) for help with their own directory of sites. It has very strict submission guidelines so read them first before submitting your site (http://www.dmoz.org/add.html). Multiple submissions or submitting an incomplete site could get you excluded permanently.

Other generic directories

Spend some time researching and submitting your site to generic directories with a high page rank and that pass link juice. There are software solutions out there that will automatically fill in submission fields for you. Believe me, after about the eighth or ninth time of writing the same site description you’ll wish you had bought it.

Industry directories

As discussed previously one of the factors search engines use to rank a site is the relevancy of the site linking to you. This means a site that is connected to your industry is worth more than one about a totally unrelated subject.

Geographic directories

Directories such as the ‘ic’ or ‘touch’ networks tend to be displayed prominently in localised search engine results. Research the most popular online directories for your area and niche and submit your site.



   

Marketing Your Website - Email Marketing

Building a list of email addresses is a relatively cheap method of getting your product/ service in front of your target audience.

Writing a marketing email

The subject line: Give the email’s subject line as much consideration as the email itself. It is the first thing people will see and it can make the difference between the email being opened or deleted straight away.

Do:

  • Use your company’s name in the title
  • Communicate a benefit/ promotion (e.g. “25% off football boots”)
  • Be descriptive so they know what is in the email

Don’t:

  • Pretend the email is about something else (e.g. “You are a winner”)
  • Use a false sense of urgency (“Important email!”)
  • SHOUT USING CAPITALS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!
  • Use punctuation such as ! or £, they are used by ISPs to identify spam

Be Aware:

  • Many email programs including Microsoft's Outlook generate emails, but they are not always easily read by your audience. Check with your web designer about creating properly formatted email newsletters.

The body of your email: The main point is keep the content as short and to the point as possible, no one will read an essay.

If you are using a one off promotional mail shot, use one promotion/offer per email with a clear 'call to action' to avoid confusing the reader and making it clear what they need to do next.

If you are sending out a newsletter, make sure it is also provides interesting/useful content and not just dry company information.

Competitions are a great way to encourage interaction.

   

Marketing Your Website - Advertising Networks

Google Banners

Banners have been around for years and many people have written the CPM model’s obituary

Due to the increase in “banner blindness” amongst internet users the era of using them as a direct marketing tool is considered over, however they are still an effective method of branding.

With this in mind some networks have started to offer Cost Per Click or Cost Per Action options to encourage advertisers to move back from search engines with the promise of more granular and accountable tracking.

More info +
   

Marketing Your Website - Social Media


Social media has exploded on to the scene in the past couple of years with user generated content and instant interaction forcing site owners to re-think both their site’s content and how they communicate with their audience.

Social news e.g. Digg

Getting a website ranked highly on sites such as Digg has been known to send so much traffic that sites have crashed under the weight. Their users submit links and stories to the site with other users voting and commenting on them. The more times your site is “Dugg” the higher you are ranked.

Social network e.g. Facebook, My Space, Bebo

Profile pages on social networks can help to develop a dialogue with your audience and spread the word amongst the network’s users, but before you commit yourself ask why would anyone want to be your website’s ‘friend’ and how will you make sure the content is fresh and worth reading? If you have a good answer to both of these crack on, if not don’t set one up just for the sake of it.

Become a Social Network

According to Hitwise, “Social networks now account for 1 in every 10 UK Internet visits and 1 in every 5 page views. Only search engines receive more UK Internet visits than social networks.” This is only set to continue as the social networks targeting specific niches explode on to the scene catering for the personal tastes and interests of users in a way the large generic social networks can’t.

The niches within the niches of topics such as music, cooking, travel, web design, sport, fashion, geographic locations, science… etc are all up for grabs. There is nothing stopping you grabbing a large part of that pie.

Micro blogging e.g. Twitter

The new kid on the block creating waves, Twitter’s proposition is incredibly simple; in no more than 160 characters send your followers a message. The unique power Twitter has is the immediacy of a message’s impact. Your ‘tweet’ is sent to all your followers instantly, making it very useful to communicate blog updates, special offers, start a conversation, run a poll... and see results within a matter of minutes or hours.
The danger the service runs is overuse or misuse from companies literally spamming users so much they become apathetic to message and even opt out of the service altogether. Tweets such as “It’s another great Friday” from a business are a step towards being removed from people’s lists.

(Find out more about the Scoosh View on Twitter)

   

The Client's View

We can update our website, easily and quickly while on the road.

Paul Tasker (Doghouse Roses)

Scoosh Quick Tips

#4 Search Engine Optimisation

If you're using image names like 1234.jpg on your website, search engines will not identify the image.

Use descriptive image names instead. If your website contains an image of a silver iPod Classic, the image name 'silver-ipod-classic.jpg is better.

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