13 Oct 2017

5 ways to convert website visitors into paying customers

You’ve put a lot of effort into setting up your website and perfecting your paid advertising campaigns. People are flocking to your site and your traffic statistics have never looked better. But you’re still not seeing the increase in revenue you hoped for. What could be wrong?

 

Don’t fret! We’ve got 5 simple things you can do today to turn those qualified leads into paying customers:

 

1. Use email marketing to build relationships

You wouldn’t buy something from someone you just met, would you? Well, neither would your website visitors.

 

You need to start building a relationship with your visitors as soon as possible. Make sure you get their contact details right away. Offer them something of value in exchange for their email address, such as a free trial or a discount coupon if they sign up.

 

Start with a simple welcome email and follow this up with more emails showcasing your products or services. Initiating contact with your visitors, even before they’ve purchased from you, will prevent them from losing interest in your company.

 

2. Use testimonials, case studies and product reviews to build trust

If you offer a service, put a testimonial from a satisfied customer on your landing page. Include as much detail as possible. Long testimonials are more convincing than short ones.

 

Case Studies can work too. Go into detail about the steps you took to help another customer. Case studies are most effective when you break down the steps you took. Then show how you can help a new customer achieve the same results. The more information you add, the more convincing you’ll be.

 

An e-commerce business can improve sales just by including product reviews to their site. Unsolicited opinions from others can encourage visitors to make a purchase.

 

‘Show – don’t tell’, is great advice for businesses. It establishes trust with potential customers by showing them that others are benefiting from what you offer.

 

3. Use logos to build a reputation

If you’ve worked with some well-known companies you should add their logos to your website. Have you won an award or received recognition from a professional body in your field? Find a way to display this news where first-time customers can see it right away.

 

This lends credibility to your business. Online shoppers are more likely to buy from you if you seem like a reliable, established company.

 

4. Use a clear call to action to direct your customers towards a specific action

Take a careful look at the landing pages you’ve created for your ads. Does each one have a clear Call To Action (CTA) that makes it obvious to the customer what they should do next? Should they sign-up, or add a product to their basket?

 

Highlight any sales or promotions you want customers to be aware of and make sure they stand out on the page. Then, add a clear Call To Action so your visitors know what the next step is.

 

5. Use technology to make your website fast

Have you ever visited a site that took so long to load that you just gave up, closed the window and looked for something else? Nothing frustrates users more than waiting for the information they want. The modern world is not a patient one and we’ve been conditioned to expect instant gratification.

 

So do whatever you can to make your website load as quickly as possible. A faster website makes it more pleasant for your visitors to use.  It means they’ll spend more time on your site and look at more of your content. The more time they spend on your site, the more opportunities you’ll have to convince them to make a purchase or contact you.

 

Apply the five suggestions we’ve listed to your website and you’ll soon turn more of your visitors into paying customers and qualified leads.

 

If you need some advice or assistance boosting your online presence, give Web Changes a call. Our Digital Marketing Team is eager to show you how to leverage the power of digital marketing to grow your business.

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25 Aug 2017

How often should you change the content on your website?

You probably know that there are a lot of good reasons to update your website content. It’s good for your SEO because search engines like fresh content. It’s good for your customers because they like reading new material. And it’s good for your social media because it gives you something to share with your followers.

The difficult question is how often you need to change the content on your site!

It’s tough because creating new content takes time and effort. Time and effort you could be spending on other activities.

Let us show you how to get the maximum benefit for the least amount of effort when it comes to changing your website content.

First decide what doesn’t to be updated

Eliminate the pages that don’t need to be updated that often from your list.

Some of these may include:

  • Contact Details: Include your new address if you move premises or if your phone number changes.
  • Staff Directory: Update this only when you hire a new employee or if someone retires.
  • About Us: If you’ve mentioned that you’ve been in business for 15 years – and that was 20 years ago – you need to change that!
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Have your customers been contacting you with a question that hasn’t been added to this page? If the answer is yes – add it right away.

It might be a short list, but it will help you draw up a schedule to make updating your site quick and easy.

Then get to work on what does need to be updated

Before you start, think about why you’re updating your content. Adding new content just for the sake of it isn’t a good enough reason. People (and search engines) really do prefer quality over quantity. Make sure your content answers these three questions before you publish it:

  • Is it unique? It doesn’t have to be a brand new thought or idea, but be sure that your content offers a new way of looking at something.
  • Is it relevant? Does it pertain to your product or services? Going completely off topic will only confuse your readers and damage your credibility.
  • Is it keyword rich? It’s no good posting quality, relevant content if nobody is going to find it. Add relevant keywords to your content so that it’s searchable – but don’t stuff it with keywords to the point that it becomes unreadable!

Now you can start updating the sections that will really make a difference:

  • Blog: Depending on your industry, you should be blogging at least once a week – and more often if possible. Fashion, news and sport are examples of industries where you could add a new blog every day! If you’re blog offers the kind of information that doesn’t change as often, like recipes, travel tips or reviews, you can afford to blog just two or three times a week.
  • News: Update this section only when you have something to talk about. Include articles that relate directly to your company or industry here. If you won an award from a professional body or appointed a new director, talk about it here.
  • Home Page: This page can be updated as often as you need. Draw attention to new products or promotions, share links to your new blog post or add a new testimonial from a satisfied customer. Updating your home page regularly will keep users coming back to see what’s new.
  • Products and Services: Naturally you’ll add these as soon as they become available. But don’t forget to remove those that have fallen away. Having outdated information on your website won’t endear you to customers.

 

Keeping your website content fresh and appealing doesn’t need to be a chore. Use our list to create your own content calendar. That way you can keep on top of what you need to change – and how often you need to change it.

Need help creating quality content for your website, blogs, newsletters and social media? Our in-house copywriter is available to create clear and compelling copy for all your content marketing needs. Give Web Changes a call today to find out more about this service.

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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 real life, 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 disorganised.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Check your copy

The odd typo won’t destroy your business, but 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 from embarrassment and time spent correcting errors which could have been avoided.

 

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

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

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

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Use good quality images

We tend to process images much faster than text, so 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. If you follow our tips and think 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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14 Aug 2017

Web Changes introduces Digital Marketing packages for every business

Web Changes introduces Digital Marketing packages for every business

If you’re doing business without an online marketing strategy you’re going to struggle. But not every business can afford to hire a dedicated marketing manager. A few business owners have the time to create and manage the content required for posts, blogs and newsletters.

Over the years, many of our web maintenance customers expressed a need for assistance with marketing their business online. That demand prompted us to create a Digital Marketing division staffed with experts in copywriting, social media management and online advertising.

The responses from our clients, and the results generated from the strategies we’ve employed have convinced us that there is a very real need for this type of service. Now, we’ve packaged our offerings to make it even easier for small, medium and large businesses to outsource their digital marketing.

Pick your package

Whether you just want a professional social media presence, or you’re ready to invest in Google Adwords, you’ll find a package that suits your requirements – and your budget:

Cost: R1800/month

Ideal for businesses with no existing social media presence, and no idea where to start. We’ll set up two accounts for you and manage them on your behalf. That means we’ll create and source content that your audience will find informative and entertaining.

We’ll also set up a blog page on your website and post one 500-800 word article on it every month. We’ll share links to your blog on your social media accounts and that will help to drive more traffic to your site. You’ll also get an hour of telephonic support every month.

Cost: R2550/month

Designed for businesses that want to harness the power of blogging and newsletters to maintain and grow their customer base, the Base Builder includes the set up and management of two social media accounts, a monthly blog post and a monthly newsletter.

With the Base Builder you can actively engage your existing customers and generate new leads by encouraging visitors to your website to sign-up for your monthly newsletter.

Cost: R4000/month

The more top-quality content you create, the more brand awareness you can generate. The Brand Boaster takes your digital marketing to the next level by adding an extra blog post to the mix along with a monthly newsletter and two social media accounts.

Cost: R6000/month

With the addition of paid marketing, you can actively market yourself to new customers. The Lead Liberator package includes an audit of your current marketing strategy with suggestions for improvement.
Your website will be optimised for SEO and we’ll help you set up and maintain three social media profiles. Every month you’ll get two blog posts and a newsletter with a full analytics report.

We’ll also set up and manage paid advertising for you on three channels. You decide the budget and we’ll make sure your advertising delivers the results you want.

Cost: R7000/month

If you’re serious about using online marketing to grow your business, the Marketing Maven is the equivalent of having a full-service marketing company at your disposal.

At our first meeting, our team will analyse your current marketing strategy and provide you with a detailed digital marketing plan going forward. Your business will have a presence of all of the major social media platforms, complemented by paid advertising on three channels.

You’ll receive four carefully researched and well-written articles every month along with a monthly newsletter and full reporting on all your digital marketing activities. Our digital marketing manager will meet with you every month to discuss and refine your strategy and provide suggestions. You also get unlimited email and telephonic support, which effectively makes us your marketing partner.

If you’re wondering whether investing in online marketing will really make a difference to your business, read our case study on Brands Tree Felling. Although you wouldn’t expect a tree feller to engage in social media and online marketing, they have received a tremendously positive response to their online marketing efforts.

We’d like to do the same for your business and we’re always keen to show you what can be accomplished with a strategy that’s tailored to suit your requirements. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a member of our digital marketing team.

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04 Aug 2017

6 SEO mistakes you’re making on your website – and how to fix them

When it comes to building trust and establishing credibility for your website, SEO beats PPC and social media hands down. But many websites sites tend to overlook it. They optimise for search engines instead of people.

 

While this approach might get people to your site, it’s SEO that keeps them there and convinces them to go down the sales funnel to the check-out page. We’ve compiled a list of the top six SEO mistakes you might be making. And we offer suggestions on how you can rectify them.

 

  1. No product reviews

Product reviews can help new customers make purchasing decisions. And they can contribute significantly to your conversion rates. You won’t lose money if you don’t have product reviews on your site, but they can help you earn more.

 

The Solution: Encourage customers to leave reviews on your site in emails and social media platforms.

 

  1. No product descriptions

You wouldn’t send a salesman out with your product and not expect him to talk to customers about it. So why do that on your website? Product descriptions should be unique, emphasize the benefits and include some SEO keywords.

 

The Solution: Start writing product descriptions for all of the products on your site. If there are too many for you to handle on your own, use freelance copywriters to help you.

 

  1. Generic Product Descriptions

This may be worse than having no product descriptions at all. But this is common for products that are listed on many different websites. Using the product description that the manufacturer has supplied just means you’re duplicating content. And Google doesn’t like that.

 

The Solution: You guessed it! You’ll have to spend some time writing fresh product descriptions that are SEO-friendly. Break them up into batches and work through them steadily. Yes it takes time, but the results are worth the effort.

 

  1. Generic title tags

Sometimes it can’t be avoided. Think about a website that sells bicycles. How many of their pages can have a title tag that doesn’t use the word ‘bicycle’ in it? Like generic product descriptions, this is a red flag to Google.

 

The Solution: Get creative and use unique key phrases instead. When most people search, they tend to use phrases, often in the form of a question.

 

  1. Pages that don’t include the keywords your customers are using

While it can be tempting to use every keyword you think applies to a product, this only looks clumsy. At the same time, you want to avoid bland descriptions. Remember that search engines favour unique, targeted titles and page text.

 

The Solution: Use Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner to find out which search terms are in use. Then think about the things that differentiate your product such as the colour, size or material it’s made from.

 

  1. Spammy-looking URLs

If the product code or long strings of gibberish show up in the URL it can turn your customers off and it doesn’t help your SEO. If it contains SEO-friendly keywords that give you some idea of the product on that page, people and search engines will thank you.

 

The Solution:  Try to make your URLs easy to understand with clear, natural language. Google doesn’t place as much importance on keywords in URLs as it did, but it’s still a good idea to rewrite to reassure your customers.

 

These are simple mistakes that are easy fix. If your site is large, it will take some time. But you’ll avoid unnecessary penalties and your customers will have a better experience on your site.

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10 Mar 2017

What are the ingredients of a successful website?

Last year, the number of websites in the world reached 966 million! With so much competition out there it’s never been more important to make sure your website is the best it can be. Whether you already have a website for your business, or you’re planning to build one in the near future, this is what you need for an effective website:

 

Visual Appeal

When it comes to websites, looks are important. Your website is a virtual reflection of your company and visitors will draw conclusions on your professionalism and credibility based on what they see. So how do you go about communicating your business ethos visually? Here are some pointers:

 

  • Use appropriate colours

We respond to colours on an emotional level which makes them powerful tools for communication. Numerous studies have been done showing which emotions are triggered by different colours. For example, blue is a colour associated with trust and honesty. That’s what makes it a particularly popular colour for banks and financial institutions.

 

Spend some time learning about the psychology of colour and how you can use colour to connect with your target market.

 

  • Make it easy on the eyes

There’s nothing more irritating than struggling to read a tiny font on a bright screen. Save your visitors from eye-strain with text that’s easy on the eyes. They’ll be more inclined to spend more time reading through all the content on your site.

 

  • Add a few good-quality graphics

Images are important and when used correctly can capture and hold your audience’s attention. Try to strike a balance between text and graphics and make sure your images are sharp and clear.

 

  • Make good use of white space

A cluttered website will turn your prospective customers off faster than they can click away. That’s why including white space in your design is so important. It helps to separate elements so viewers can find what they’re looking at a glance.

 

Constructive Content

Looks aren’t the only thing that matters; your site needs substance too. Your content needs to provide visitors with real value so they feel confident about the decision they’re about to make. Your content is an opportunity to inform and persuade your visitors and demonstrate your expertise. This is how to make your content work for you:

 

  • Keep it fresh: Add new blog posts and articles on a regular basis to keep visitors coming back for more.
  • Keep it interesting: Short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and sub-headings will keep your readers engaged.
  • Keep it simple: Use the words and language that your audience uses and try to avoid jargon and industry-speak.
  • Keep it clean: Check for typos and bad grammar and double-check your facts and figures. Then you won’t need to worry about coming across as sloppy or unprofessional.

 

What about rich media?

You should use rich media sparingly. Skip the flashy graphics and animation and provide your visitors with value instead. But do include downloadable content for those who don’t have the time to read online, but want to hear what you have to say.

 

Complete Functionality

Everything on your site should do what it’s supposed to do. That means hyperlinks, contact forms, registrations and logins should work without any hiccups. The instant your visitors encounter any problems accessing a page or navigating around your site is the moment they think about clicking away.

 

Check that everything works and if there’s an issue, resolve it swiftly. Don’t risk losing out on a sale or a new client simply because of a broken link.

 

User-friendliness

Think about the sites you visit often and why you keep going back. Is it because:

 

  • They’re simple to use, with valuable content that’s well-organised and easy to read?
  • Fast-loading pages mean you don’t waste time waiting for information to appear?
  • Minimal scrolling means you can find what you need without scrolling for miles?
  • The navigation menus are logical and placed in a prominent position on each page?
  • The descriptive link text points you in the right direction so you never get lost?
  • The site is consistent no matter which browser or device you use?

 

Does your website meet this standard? If not, start implementing some small changes to make it as user-friendly as the sites you like to visit.

 

Mobile-friendliness

With more people using their mobiles to access the internet, having a mobile-friendly website is essential. Your customers want to be able to browse your products, make purchases or complete your forms just as easily from their smartphone as their do from their laptop. If you can’t provide them with this convenience, they’ll find somebody who does.

 

SEO Fundamentals

There is so much you can do with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). But it’s best to start with the basics (and get them right) before you go further. So start with these simple tips:

 

  • Do keyword research to find out what words and phrases customers are using to find a business like yours online.
  • Use these keywords in your headings and sub-headings, meta-descriptions and image alt attributes. But don’t stuff your content with keywords or you’ll be penalised. Use keywords in a natural way, and always write for people first, search engines second.
  • Share your content on social media to generate backlinks and reach out to other industry players for opportunities to post your content on their sites.
  • Add relevant links to your own pages within your content. Internal linking keeps visitors on your site which sends a signal to search engines that your site is packed with valuable content.
  • Create ‘evergreen content’ such as ‘FAQ’s, ‘How-To’ guides and tutorials. This is the type of content that will keep driving traffic to your website because it’s always in demand.

 

How many of those 966 million websites will still be generating business at the end of this year? It’s impossible to tell. But if you follow these guidelines your site will be more effective and stay that way. Follow the Web Changes blog for more tips on how to manage your website, digital marketing and social media. Or get in touch with us to discuss your website requirements.

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10 Feb 2017

8 ways to show your website some love this Valentine’s Day

While you’re busy ordering roses and making dinner reservations, your website is waiting patiently for you to pay it some attention. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day slip by without spoiling it a little—after all, it never stops working for you.

 

Your website is the virtual face of your business and that’s why you should take this opportunity to do something nice for it. Here are some ideas:

 

  1. Give it something to look forward to

What is that you want your website to achieve? Your business may have taken a new direction since you first started, and your website needs to reflect that. So think about your business goals for the coming year and how your website could help you achieve them.

 

  1. Treat it to a makeover

Everybody enjoys a bit of pampering—and that includes your website. You don’t have to change everything, just ditch those generic stock photos for something sharper and more professional. Or try a new layout or menu style to make it easier for your visitors to find their way around.

 

  1. Commit to regular maintenance

When your website runs smoothly and loads quickly, it’s more attractive to your visitors. But this can only be achieved if you maintain it. Keeping your website up-to-date will also keep it free from bugs and viruses. You can easily outsource this job to a professional web maintenance company.

 

  1. Write it some poetry

Or at least, get a professional copywriter to go over your web copy and make it sing. Your website speaks to your customers on your behalf, so make sure it says all the right things to convert casual visitors to super-fans.

 

  1. Help it get noticed

How will anyone find your website if you don’t pay attention to your SEO? If it’s been a while since you did some keyword research or exchanged a link with a well-respected site—that needs to change.

 

  1. Brag about it

The best way to let people know that your website is the best is to start bragging (or blogging). If you share practical information with your visitors they soon come to realise that you’re an authority in your industry and they won’t want to do business with anyone else.

 

  1. Be responsive

Your site has to be mobile-friendly if you want to capture all those potential customers using their smartphones and tablets to browse the web. A responsive website is easier to navigate on a small screen and will allow your customers to contact you or buy from your online store on the move.

 

  1. Show it off

All the great content you’ve spent hours creating for your site deserves to be shared with the world. So spread the love and start posting it on social media. This is the perfect way to show everyone how truly amazing your website is. It won’t be long before they visit your site to see for themselves.

 

Putting a little effort into your website needn’t cost an arm and a leg or take up all of your time. The team at Web Changes can do it all for you at a very reasonable price. So show your website a little love and rekindle your most important business relationship.

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20 Jan 2017

The surprising ways a copywriter adds value to your business

You might question whether you really need the services of a professional copywriter. After all, most business owners feel that nobody else understands their business the way they do. But even if you are a competent writer, there are some benefits to using a copywriter that you may not have thought about:

 

  1. A copywriter adds a fresh perspective

When you first start working with a copywriter, they’ll have a lot of questions. They’ll want to know things such as:

 

  • Why did you start this business?
  • Who is your target market?
  • Who is your competition, and what makes you better than them?
  • What do you want to achieve with your business?

 

These questions help the copywriter to form a complete picture of your company. And because they’re not involved in the day-to-day running of it, they’ll have a fresh take on the image you project. Using this information, they can develop a new voice for your company.

 

  1. A copywriter understands your target market

Copywriters spend a good deal of their time doing research. Not only will they learn as much about your industry as they can before they start writing, they’ll also research your target market.

 

That way, when it comes to writing copy for your website, newsletters or blog, they’ll know exactly what your customers want to hear. After all, copy that resonates with your target audience is more effective.

 

  1. A copywriter will make you stand out from the crowd

In competitive industries, it can be difficult to differentiate yourself from the competition. One of the skills all good copywriters have is the ability to hone in on your unique selling proposition; the one thing that sets you apart. And, they’ll know how to communicate this to your customers convincingly.

 

Good copy builds trust, credibility and authority. If you want to project a professional and polished image to your customers, you should seriously consider working with a copywriter.

 

Keen to see what difference a copywriter could make to your business? Web Changes is pleased to offer a copywriting service as part of our high-quality web maintenance packages. With a professional copywriter working on your website and marketing materials, your company will appear confident and credible.

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02 May 2016

Mobilegeddon: Surviving the mobile revolution

Due to the massive rise in the use of smart phones and mobile devices, it was just a matter of time before Search Engines tweaked their position on mobile ratings. On 21 April 2015, Google finally announced that they would make ground breaking changes to their algorithm, to downgrade the rating for sites that are not responsive and show preference to those that are mobile friendly.

More than half of Google’s searches are from mobile devices and it is expected that the trend will continue in leaps and bounds. Those website operators that are ready and equipped to deal with the algorithm change will benefit from it, while others might lose out.

To those that have not made arrangements to weather the storm, the prevalent questions are: How will the algorithm change affect my website’s position and is it too late to do something about it?

The good news is that Google announced that the changes would be rolled out over a few weeks and that it would only affect smartphones. Desktops and tablets are not included in the algorithm and if your site was ranked well on desktops before, it should still retain its position. Moreover, one could effect changes to a website to make it mobile friendly long after the actual roll-out and still enjoy the benefit of having a website that meets the criteria.

The bad news for those that don’t have responsive websites that conform to the new algorithm criteria is that a very large portion of the searches that occur on google are from mobile devices and approximately 30% of the click-through are generated by position one on search results while position 2 and 3 account for about 10% of the click-through.

If you are a business that delivers a product or service that relies on quick, spur-of-the-moment decisions, your potential customers are more likely to use a smart phone when finding a provider. Furthermore, the smart phone is the customer’s networking and portal. Chances are, the customer would have received a referral from a friend or colleague on their mobile device in the form of a link, like or text message.

For now, at least, the site that isn’t optimized will still be ranked if it is considered to be a relevant result. Mobile-friendliness is just one of the numerous criteria whereby a site is judged. But, Lilts be honest. This is only the beginning. We all know where this is heading. Everyone is carrying a mobile device of some sort and the question will soon be: What can you not do with your mobile device? If your website is not geared for the mobile revolution, it will be, hopefully sooner than later.

For those web owners that are not sure how to improve their current website, Google has developed a very handy tool to check for criteria that match a perfectly optimized, responsive website. The tool kan be found in the webmaster tools section on google.com, or search for “Google Mobile-Friendly Test”.

The most important criteria is the responsiveness of a website. If your site is responsive, it will resize according to the width of your screen and you would not have to scroll sideways to read content. Certain images will resize according to the screen size, while others will remain large, but never beyond the width of your screen. Responsiveness also impacts links and text on your website when it is viewed on a mobile device. Text should retain its size on a mobile device and not shrink even smaller. When links shrink smaller, they tend to be too close to each other, which might prove difficult for the big thumbs out there.

Once you have the responsiveness base covered, it is important to make sure that your mobile site does not contain images that are blocked or unplayable videos that could slow down the pages. Mobile Networks are generally slower, which is why Google shows preference to sites that have faster dowload speeds.

However you look at it, with the way the mobile revolution took off and is rapidly moving forward, it is hard to ignore the impact it could have on your web presence. If the big “MobileGeddon” announcement does not prompt you to re-define your online strategy, don’t forget – this was just a push in that direction and you have been warned.

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28 Apr 2016

WordPress, CMS of choice

A Content Management System is a computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content by a user, with limited expertise, using a graphic user interface.

Content Management Systems were developed to give more people the ability to maintain their online web presence and has contributed to the steep rise in relevant and informative online content. Business owners and professionals are now able to digitize their thoughts and contribute to the wealth of information that is the Internet.

From the very first Content Management System that was used in the 1990’s until today, there has been a multitude of applications that laid their claim as the people’s number one choice for Web Maintenance.

Three Content Management systems have become the leaders as far as market share is concerned with one having an overwhelming majority of that share.

No need to keep you in suspense and maybe it comes as any surprise that the top three Content Management Systems used worldwide are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.

In this article we would like to take a look at WordPress and why it walks away with the accolades.

The Content Management System used most is WordPress. In fact, more than half of the website editors that use Content Management Systems are Worpress users. WordPress was launched in May 2007 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, the founders of WordPress. The free software is installed onto your web hosting server and is available under a General Public Licence, which guarantees end users (individuals, organizations, companies) the freedoms to run, study, share (copy), and modify the software.

WordPress is developed in PHP which is an open source programming language and uses a MySQL data base. That is perhaps the number one reason why it is popular under developers. Programmers that are PHP proficient can and are allowed to create plugins that slot into WordPress. The ability to do this has created a completely new industry for web developers.

WordPress Plugins that perform various functionalities have been developed, packaged and sold. The plugins are usually very user friendly and those that are, provide web editors with more web function capabilities, day-by-day. It is estimated that more than 30000 plugins have been developed for WordPress since 2003 and this number is rapidly growing.

WordPress is the most secure Content Management System in use. In fact, the software is continuously developed and improved by software developers all over the world. Some of those top developers could possibly be amongst the top hackers as well, which makes them very qualified to produce a very secure system.

The internet is full of beautiful WordPress themes that can easily be installed on a WordPress platform. Just as there are programmers that specialize in development of WordPress plugins, there are web designers that specialize in the design and development of WordPress themes that are custom made for specific industries, products and services.

Giving developers all over the world access to the source files of WordPress and giving them Cart Blanche to write modules that can possibly improve its core functionality, means that you have driven programmers working around the clock towards a common goal. This is significant, because it insures that technology within WordPress stays current.

WordPress remains current on so many levels. When there was a sudden increase in the amount of mobile users, WordPress was the first Content Management System to embrace responsive layouts. A responsive layout is one that adapts according your screen size, while still being legible. This means that your site is compatible with all devices and with more than 60% of the world’s population using mobile devices to search the internet, this makes WordPress a very popular choice.

WordPress remains current on the SEO front, as well. From the outset, the latest WordPress download is search engine friendly and with so many Search Engine Optimization plugins to choose from it simplifies the setup of a search engine friendly website. From there, it is up to the web editor to maintain the content on the website, which remains the number one factor when rating a website for search engines. And that is the whole point of a Content Management System, isn’t it? It gives the web owner the ability to ability to add content at will.

WordPress, and all of the other CMS’s have one small quirk. Ironically, the fact that WordPress continuously updates and new versions are released regularly is a strongpoint, but also proves to be a slight problem for web owners. When WordPress upgrades to a new version, some of the plugins attached to an installation might cease to operate due to compatibility issues. In some cases, those plugins might not be compatible with the installed version of WordPress, even if you update the plugin. In these cases, the web editor might not have the skill to rectify the errors and will then need the assistance of a professional web maintenance company to insure the continued functionality of their website. While there are web maintenance companies that deliver continued WordPress support, to a certain degree, the web editor with limited web development expertise, is still dependant.

The average cycle for the occurrence of this event is approximately 1 year and depends on major updates to WordPress, PHP and the Linux hosting environment. Thus, it is a good idea to have a professional website maintenance company handy when this happens. You might even elect to host your website with a company that knows WordPress well and might be able to update you on such occurrences.

WordPress can be set to not update, which can, in time become a security risk. Like all software, it needs to continuously develop in order to remain a step ahead of potential hackers, who always find a way. Upgrading is good!

Whatever you choose as the platform for you next website, remember to consider the importance of accessibility to update content at will. The main reason why companies have a website is to inform. If you have no new information to share willingly, your website could become dormant and inaccessible as search engines lose interest. A Content Management System will improve your chances to digitally market your company, organization or cause, cost effectively.

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