18 Aug 2017

8 tricks to polish your online presence

At Web Changes, our mission has always been to provide our clients with a polished and professional online presence. You might think that there are more important things to focus on such as ensuring your website is mobile friendly or concentrating on perfecting your SEO, but there is a method to our madness.

 

Why your website needs to make a good impression

Your customers will use your website and social media profiles to draw conclusions about your products and services. If your online presence doesn’t reflect the way you do business in reality, you could be putting potential customers off.

 

If you want to put your (virtual) best foot forward, follow these tips for creating a good impression online:

 

1.Create a consistent visual identity

 

Branding refers to all the elements that help customers identify your business. It includes your logo, fonts, colours and even the style and tone of your copy. Using the same branding across your website and social media channels creates a cohesive online presence.

If you aren’t applying your branding consistently, visitors will get the impression that you’re disorganized.

 

2.Claim your online spaces

 

As you secure the domain name for your website, you should do the same for the all the social media platforms you want to use. There’s nothing worse than discovering that the handle you want to use for your business has already been acquired by someone else.

Consider how not owning your online presence may confuse and annoy potential customers searching for your business online. Even if you aren’t planning on using all the social media platforms available, you can prevent someone else from claiming it.

 

3.Check your copy

 

The odd typo won’t destroy your business. However, copy that is littered with bad grammar and spelling will erode confidence in your business. Taking the time to proofread your content before you publish it will save you a lot of time and embarrassment.

If you can afford it, it may be worth hiring a copywriter to take care of all your writing – from web copy to newsletters and social media posts. These individuals are skilled at writing clear, persuasive copy that converts.

 

4.Use a branded email address

 

It’s the little things that potential customers pick up on, like using a Gmail address for your business. If your address doesn’t follow the format me@mybusiness.co.za, they may doubt your authenticity. You shouldn’t have any trouble creating a personalised and branded email address if you’re a legitimate business.

 

5.Respond to comments and reviews – even the bad ones

 

The whole purpose of online marketing is to engage with your audience/potential customers. Ignoring reviews and comments left on your website, blog or social media accounts, will give the impression that you don’t care about your customers. Even negative comments are an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

 

6.Be active on social media

 

If you have social media accounts, but you haven’t posted anything in months, people researching your business online may get the impression that your business is not operating anymore. Use your website to advertise the social media platforms you are active on, and then work out a schedule for your posts.

It’s not necessary to publish something every day, but if you’re consistent with your posts, your followers will look forward to your content. Deliver fresh, valuable content regularly and you’ll soon build a community of loyal fans.

 

7.Update your content regularly

 

Have you moved offices or changed your contact numbers and forgotten to update your website or social media bio’s? That’s one way to lose the trust of a potential customer. Make an effort to check your content at regular intervals throughout the year and update where necessary.

 

8.Use good quality images

 

Because we tend to process images much faster than text, using photos on your website is a good way to grab your visitors’ attention. However, poor quality images have the opposite effect and are likely to cause visitors to bounce off your site.

Luckily, getting your hands on high-quality images is easy. Search the web for ‘free stock photography’ and you’ll find a number of sites offering good quality images you can use for your website, blog and social media posts.

 

How well your business succeeds may depend heavily on how your website looks and functions. By following our tips and thinking of your website and social media channels as tools for connecting with your target market, you’ll have no trouble creating an online space that people want to engage with.

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30 Jun 2017

Mobile SEO: Tips for creating a mobile-friendly site

In an age of smartphones and tablets, having a mobile-friendly website is simply not an option. This is especially true in South Africa where most people use their phones to access the internet because they don’t own a laptop. As a result, it’s even more important that your site follows mobile SEO best practices.

 

What is Mobile SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation refers to the techniques used to make it easy for search engines to find and catalogue your website. Everything from the words you use in your content to the links that direct people to your website help search engines understand what your site is about and whether users find it useful.

 

If you understand that, then you’ll know that Mobile SEO refers specifically to the things you can do to make it easier for mobile users to find you online. And while a lot of that has to do with how your site is designed, there are other factors you need to take into consideration.

 

Mobile Website or Responsive Design?

You do have the option of creating a separate, mobile-friendly page that is set up on a completely different URL. This version of your site may sit on a subdomain such as m.website.com.

 

Setting up a mobile site gives you the advantage of creating a site that is perfectly user-friendly for mobile users. The downside is that running two websites (one built for mobile and another for desktop) will result in double the maintenance.

 

The better option (and one preferred by Google) is Responsive Design. This is a site that automatically adapts text and images to display correctly on smaller screens. It is able to detect whether the user is browsing from a mobile device or a desktop, and adapt content accordingly.

 

If you have an existing site, it will need a complete redesign to make it mobile responsive. This can get pricey, but it will be worth it in the long run. The need for mobile-friendly sites is not going to disappear. You’ll spend less on maintenance which also makes it a more attractive option for budget-conscious businesses.

 

Tips for Mobile SEO

It doesn’t stop at choosing the design of your website. If you want to create a site that is truly mobile friendly, you need to look at some other elements:

 

Mobile keywords

Yes, people really do search for things differently when they use their mobiles as opposed to their laptop. Google has picked up on this and that’s why you’ll need to re-examine your keywords. One thing that stands out is that users tend to phrase their search as a question when using their phone.

 

When gathering a list of keywords or phrases, think of the types of questions your customers would ask. How would they type it out on a touchscreen keyboard with one hand? Try it yourself and you’ll soon understand the difference between regular keywords and phrases and mobile keywords.

 

Optimising your content for mobile displays

While responsive design does a good job of re-sizing and re-arrange text and images, it will perform even better if you create content with mobile in mind.

 

That involves being more concise with your copy, making sure that users can find the information they need quickly. You’ll also want to prioritise your content so that the most important details appear first. Breaking down copy into bite-size chunks that are easy to read on a smaller screen will go a long to impressing your mobile visitors.

 

Your content will have to work even harder to capture and hold the attention of viewers on mobile. And you’ll need to have an intuitive but unobtrusive navigation.

 

Keep the user in mind

Ultimately, you want to provide visitors with a good experience. Think about how people will navigate around your website on a mobile. Is the font large enough to read comfortably? Is your menu easy to find and navigate? Are your forms straightforward and easy to complete? Have you provided them with all the information they need to make a make a purchase or provide you with their contact details?

 

Designing a website with a mobile-first mindset will help you overcome issues before your site is available to the general public. It takes some planning and effort, but the result will be a website that satisfies a variety of users.  If you’re setting up a brand new website, tell your developer that you want a mobile-responsive design.

 

You want your website to be as engaging and persuasive as possible. Whether your customers find you on their laptop or smartphone, make sure their experience is pleasant and hassle-free.

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